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Mail carrier saves packages from burning truck

Add raging fire to the list of conditions mail carriers are known to endure. A U.S. Postal Service worker attempted to save mail and packages inside a mail truck Friday after it caught fire along Highway 371 north of Baxter. At about 6 p.m., the ...

A U.S. Postal Service mail truck burns Friday along Highway 371 north of Baxter. Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said it appeared the fire began in the engine compartment. Screenshot from submitted video
A U.S. Postal Service mail truck burns Friday along Highway 371 north of Baxter. Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said it appeared the fire began in the engine compartment. Screenshot from submitted video

Add raging fire to the list of conditions mail carriers are known to endure.

A U.S. Postal Service worker attempted to save mail and packages inside a mail truck Friday after it caught fire along Highway 371 north of Baxter.

At about 6 p.m., the Brainerd Fire Department was called to respond to a vehicle fire in front of National Conductor, north of Gull Lake Dam Road. A Crow Wing County sheriff's deputy and a Brainerd firefighter assisted the mail carrier in removing as much cargo as possible as the flames grew, reported Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes. The group was successful in recovering most of the deliveries before the fire took over, he said.

Michelle Price of Baxter witnessed the fire, capturing video of the incident. Price was traveling southbound on Highway 371 when she saw the flaming vehicle and someone running from it.

"She (the mail carrier) was trying to save packages as we pulled up," Price said by email. "This woman went out of her way and risked her life for your packages. ... She deserves to be appreciated."

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Holmes said when additional fire crews arrived, the fire was quickly extinguished. It appeared to have started in the engine compartment of the truck, he added.

The mail carrier was transported by North Ambulance to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center after suffering minor smoke inhalation. The woman's identity was unknown Sunday.

A woman is seen carrying packages apparently rescued from a burning U.S. Postal Service mail truck. The Brainerd Fire Department responded to the vehicle fire at about 6 p.m. Friday, near National Conductor on Highway 371 north of Baxter. Screenshot from submitted video
A woman is seen carrying packages apparently rescued from a burning U.S. Postal Service mail truck. The Brainerd Fire Department responded to the vehicle fire at about 6 p.m. Friday, near National Conductor on Highway 371 north of Baxter. Screenshot from submitted video

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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