“We got everybody out just in time,” supervisor Michelemy Burton said of the rising floodwaters earlier this week at the post office in downtown Montpelier.
By Fred Thys
MONTPELIER — The Montpelier Post Office, engulfed by floodwaters last week, is slowly restarting delivery, according to supervisor Michelemy Burton.
On Friday, Burton said postal workers are beginning to deliver letters and packages that had been held up since flooding shut down the post office on State Street on Monday.
However, people will not be able to get into their post office boxes until the post office building is opened for business, Burton said.
In an interview with VTDigger, Burton said customers who receive their mail in cluster boxes will now be able to get mail. That’s because postal workers were able to get access to keys that had been left inside the post office.
In a posting on Front Porch Forum Thursday, Burton warned people that if mail carriers cannot get to roads and mailboxes safely, they will not deliver to those addresses.
And, she added, it will take several more days before the postal service can deliver newspapers and magazines.
Burton informed Plainfield residents that all their mail will be delivered out of the Plainfield Post Office. Normally, it would be delivered from Montpelier.
She told VTDigger that carriers now have access to the keys to the blue mail boxes on the street, though she warned that the tubs placed inside the boxes to collect the mail likely have water in them. She said the mailboxes will be cleaned out this weekend so that people can start dropping mail in them on Monday.
Burton said customers who need to buy stamps and money orders or mail anything can do so at any other central Vermont post office.
Burton had discouraging news about any mail that was to arrive Monday or before, saying it was “likely claimed by Mother Nature.” She said some items might be recoverable, but that is for a postal hazmat team to determine.
In an interview Friday, Burton said the Montpelier Post Office is planning to work out of mobile units at National Life headquarters, and it will “be a long time” until postal workers can work inside the post office building again.
Starting Monday, she said, people will be able to pick up mail sent to their P.O. boxes there at one of the mobile units. The other unit will work as a regular post office and will be able to sell stamps and money orders and mail anything, but those services will not be ready Monday. She did not know when those retail operations would be up and running.
Mail for Montpelier is being sorted at the plant in Essex, she said.
Burton described some harrowing moments as floodwaters rose Monday to engulf the federal building on State Street where the post office is located, and submerged the parking lot, where all the mail trucks were parked.
All but one of the trucks were moved to National Life in time, she said. (One would not start.)
“We got everybody out just in time,” she said. “It was really quick. I was sitting in my office and the postmaster was out doing a route inspection and I got a call from the state and got everybody out.”