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Minnesota mail carrier saves packages from burning truck

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 video1 / 2
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 video2 / 2

BRAINERD, Minn.—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."

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.

Chelsey Perkins

Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her bachelor's degree in professional journalism at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Perkins interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins, and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before becoming the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as the county government beat reporter at the Dispatch and a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.

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