ATF investigating fire started in Alabama post office's mail chute

ATF investigating fire started in Alabama post office's mail chute
The Prattville Post Office is closed after a fire early Monday morning.  (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Mail will be delivered Monday (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Mail will be delivered Monday (Source: WSFA 12 News)
A mobile mail unit has been established for customers to mail items (Source: WSFA 12 News)
A mobile mail unit has been established for customers to mail items (Source: WSFA 12 News)
The front lobby and P.O. Box area of the Prattville Post Office remains closed (Source: WSFA 12 News)
The front lobby and P.O. Box area of the Prattville Post Office remains closed (Source: WSFA 12 News)

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Insurance says the State Fire Marshal's Office, along with Prattville officers and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), are investigating after a fire started at a postal facility early Monday morning.

The front lobby and postal box area of the Prattville Post Office remain closed after the blaze, which U.S. Postal officials said appears to have started in the lobby mail chute.

When asked who the lead investigator on the case was, Debbie Fetterly with the USPS said, "According to Postal Inspector Tony Robinson, fire investigators have their own unique skill sets. Once the fire marshal makes a determination as to the cause of the fire, Postal Inspectors will review findings."

She added that it was "an example where first responders from city, state, and federal levels depend on each other to help ensure public safety."

USPS officials say firefighters responded to the postal branch around 1:45 a.m and extinguished the blaze. In all, 24 postal boxes were impacted but it is unclear how much mail volume was affected.

There's no word on what may have caused the fire or how long the office will be out of commission.

USPS officials say if customers deposited mail, including tax returns, inside the collection container next to the Automated Postal Center (APC) or the collection boxes in front of the post office, they were not damaged. However, if the mail was deposited in the inside chute after 2 p.m. Saturday it was destroyed in the fire.

The box area and the front lobby remain closed and are sectioned off with a tarp. The area is inaccessible to employees and customers until repairs can be made. The rear of the building was not damaged with the exception of smoke and soot, USPS officials said.

Mail will be delivered Monday and those customers who wish to mail a package or letter can do so at the mobile retail unit, currently set up in the parking lot. Customers may also purchase stamps and other items from this unit.

Employees were able to sort packages inside the building and letter carriers sorted letters and flats outside on the property.

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