Snow, rain, gloom of night — and burning truck. The last is now on mail carrier Kia Rodman’s list of obstacles to overcome while completing her appointed rounds.
The central Minnesota mail carrier’s truck caught fire Friday evening along a highway north of Baxter, prompting the driver to fend off the flickering flames to save much of her load, authorities said Monday.
The blaze broke out in the engine compartment of Rodman’s truck along Hwy. 371 north of Gull Lake Road about 6 p.m. in front of National Conductor, a general electrical contracting company, said Deputy Brainerd Fire Chief Dave Cox.
Cox said that when his personnel arrived on the scene, a firefighter and a member of law enforcement joined the mail carrier in rescuing the truck’s contents. But Rodman had “most of [the packages and other mail] already out. … She did a very good job.”
A video of the fire was recorded by Baxter resident Michelle Price and then posted on YouTube.
“Get out of there!” one bystander can be heard screaming to the mail carrier.
“[She] should probably get away, in case it explodes,” Price said while documenting the blaze.
Price told the Star Tribune that she was driving along with her three children and “out of the corner of my eye, I could see something was on fire.”
The truck “was pretty engulfed in flames” when the mail carrier was defying the fire and grabbing whatever contents she could.
“I talked to her,” Price said. “She said [the engine] had been smoking for a while. She didn’t know whether it was overheating.”
Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki said that “in the event of any type of accident, we advise our employees to ensure they are safe and call 911. While the vehicle was not equipped with a fire extinguisher, our employees do receive fire prevention and response training.”
Rodman of Brainerd was treated for a slight case of smoke inhalation, fire officials said, allowing her to resume abiding by her profession’s unofficial motto: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”