Blaze engulfs postal truck
A United States Postal Service truck caught fire while the driver was still inside, although he escaped unharmed. The incident occurred Saturday morning in the 900 block of East Madison Street in Washington.
According to John Marshall, postmaster of the Washington Post Office, the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction in the dashboard, which then caught the steering column and the seat on fire.
“The driver put the key in the ignition, and sparks came out from underneath the dash almost instantly,” Marshall said.
Marshall said the driver had just finished delivering a route that morning and that the only mail in it was mail that was undeliverable. The driver drove only a few feet before pulling over and dialing 9-1-1.
“When he (the driver) drove it out, he was just coming back to load up for a full route,” Marshall said. “We lucked out. The truck could have been full of mail. The driver was upset a little bit about the fire, but he did exactly what he should have done in that situation.”
The postal service will turn the truck over to the post office in Cedar Rapids. Marhsall said the Cedar Rapids office is willing to rebuild the truck, despite extensive damage to the interior.
“They’re pretty willing to replace it,” he said. “They will find a use for it. I’ve already talked to a mechanic about rebuilding it.”
Washington Fire Chief Tom Wide said that most vehicle fires occur under the hood and result in the vehicle being totaled.
About 14 Washington firefighters responded to the fire. Wide said it took them about five minutes to extinguish the fire and about 30 minutes to investigate and clean up.