2013-11-20 / Front Page

Drivers, mail carrier save mail from burning truck


This local mail truck caught fire and exploded on Saturday, November 16. Passersby aided the mail carrier in getting herself and the mail out of the truck. This local mail truck caught fire and exploded on Saturday, November 16. Passersby aided the mail carrier in getting herself and the mail out of the truck. A local mail carrier saw her Saturday delivery route take an unexpected turn when she narrowly avoided being caught in a burning mail truck.

Mary Harrison, who is a fill-in carrier on Saturdays, noticed that her U.S. Postal Service truck was running oddly while she was making deliveries around Sand Mine Road in northern Morgan County last Saturday, November 16.

According to Postal Supervisor Rick Dunn, Harrison decided to return to the post office in Berkeley Springs to switch vehicles right before dusk.

On her way there, another driver noticed that there were flames coming from under the mail truck. He cut in front of her on the road, forcing her to pull over.

The driver yelled at Harrison: “Your truck is on fire. Get out before it explodes,” said witnesses.

One witness said: “As soon as Mary stopped her truck, the flames, which had been confined to beneath the vehicle by wind, began to overtake the truck.”

Though Harrison was able to get out safely, she returned to the truck to gather the mail and parcels and throw them clear of the vehicle. Several people stopped to help Harrison get the items 25 to 30 feet from the truck just seconds before the vehicle’s gas tank exploded, engulfing the truck in flames, said witnesses.

Hancock Volunteer Fire Company responded to the fire, which took place just in front of the Berkeley Springs Senior Center. The postal truck was totally destroyed in the fire.

Dunn said the truck had recently been worked on, but postal officials don’t know what caused the fire.

Following the fire and explosion, fellow mail carrier Kim Weber picked up Harrison and the mail, loaded them into a second vehicle and continued their deliveries.

“It gives me pride to be a part of this community,” Harrison said about the volunteers who came quickly to her aid. She said she was uninjured except for a sore back from hurling the contents of the truck away from the fire.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” says the oft-quoted postal creed. As one observer noted, that creed now apparently includes fires and explosions.

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