The United States Postal Service truck driven by a mail carrier slipped into a ditch while delivering to a route on Tuesday, Jan. 14 on the 8200 block of East Zayante Road in Felton.
While the postal worker attempted to rock the truck out, something caught fire underneath and ignited the truck, burning the vehicle and all its contents. The driver escaped without injury.
The carrier had made 150 deliveries and still had 549 remaining along the route, said USPS spokesman Gus Ruiz. Close to 2,000 letters and 50 parcels aboard were destroyed.
“It’s one of those unfortunate things, but we are doing all we can to notify customers,” Ruiz said.
Felton Post Master Ray Furuta said the post office was drafting a letter on Wednesday morning that would go out to all postal customers along the route, notifying them of what they should do if they believe they are missing mail. According to the USPS website, the route includes some mailboxes along upper Quail Hollow Road, several portions of East Zayante Road and the vast majority of Lompico.
Postal workers are sorting through the remains to see what is salvageable and what can still be delivered, Ruiz said.
Zayante Fire got the call at 12:27 p.m., and upon arrival quickly put out the blaze which did not spread. Fire Chief John Stipes said it appeared the truck drove across a driveway and about 10 feet of lawn and drove into the ditch.
Stipes surmised the driver simply thought he was driving across a road to the next box, and tipped into the ditch.
“Unfortunately a lot of people didn’t get their mail yesterday,” Stipes said, noting that his crew found the head of a guitar in the rubble.
The driver, Furuta said, is experienced, but had only been driving the route for a short time.
Furuta said the forthcoming letter will explain to customers what to do if they were expecting mail.
The Felton Post Office, 6101 Gushee Street can be contacted at 335-8015. Its business hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.