A U.S. Postal Service driver was able to escape a fire that consumed his delivery truck Tuesday on Redwood Drive.
The Madison County Fire Department responded to the fire about noon, and when firefighters arrived, the truck was fully engulfed. The driver was able to pull out some of the mail, but the truck was destroyed.
Later that day, some of the partially burned mail could be seen in cartons on the loading dock at the Water Street facility.
The local postmaster, Steve Coleman, directed all questions about the incident to a regional spokesperson.
“The driver was about 75 percent finished with his route” when he heard a pop, postal service spokesman David Walton said.
The driver immediately saw fire and smoke under his dashboard and got out of the vehicle.
It is suspected the fire was caused by a mechanical failure, Walton said.
The delivery truck was a model called an LLV, which stands for Long Life Vehicle, Walton said. Although he was unable to provide information about how long the truck had been on the road, an LLV is designed to last 24 years.
Walton also did not immediately know the value of the vehicle.
“We will be notifying customers to let them know about this unfortunate incident,” Walton said. “We regret the inconvenience.”
Customers will be contacted via a letter, Walton said. In addition to mail that had yet to be delivered, residents along the route may have had mail items, such as bill payments, picked up that were destroyed or damaged in the fire.
The postal service will encourage people who may have had their mail picked up before the fire to contact the addressees about the situation, Walton said.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6694.
Correction (published Jan. 31): The lead paragraph and photo captions accompanying this story stated the incorrect day for when the postal truck fire occurred. The blaze happened Tuesday.