UPDATE: Fire destroys mail in drive-up box outside Westwood Post Office

5:11 PM: If you use the Westwood Post Office drive-up box, take note. From regional U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Ernie Swanson:

Mail deposited in a drive-up collection box outside the Westwood Post Office, 2721 SW Trenton St., Seattle WA 98126, was destroyed in a fire at about 4:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28.

Mail deposited in the box after about 5:30 p.m., Thursday, August 27th, was burned beyond recognition.
An investigation is being conducted into the possible cause of the fire. The Seattle Fire Department extinguished the fire.

We’re checking on the mailbox’s status.

ADDED 5:23 PM: Before we could even do that – we received the photo we’ve added above, from Megan (thank you!). Note the sign says you can’t use the burned mailbox – asking customers to take their mail inside. We’ll be checking on replacement plans, as well as the aforementioned investigation.

P.S. This is the same drive-up-mailbox location that was briefly out of service five and a half months ago after the box was hit by a car.

6:40 PM: Just went to Westwood for a firsthand look, and the burned mailbox has been removed.

8:04 PM: We’ve also heard back from USPS’s Swanson, who says the box *will* be replaced, no timetable yet.

25 Replies to "UPDATE: Fire destroys mail in drive-up box outside Westwood Post Office"

  • Alan August 28, 2015 (5:20 pm)

    As of about 2:30 pm the box was closed. It was causing a bit of a traffic jam, as everyone had to park and go into the Post Office to drop mail.

    • WSB August 28, 2015 (5:31 pm)

      Thanks. On second look at the fire log, I see the “rubbish fire” I originally mentioned – in the same area, also early today – was a different call, and this would have been the “1 RED” at 4:32 am at 2721 SW Trenton.

  • Jtk August 28, 2015 (5:39 pm)

    The mailbox is no longer there as of 5:15pm

  • WillBeHOnest August 28, 2015 (6:03 pm)

    My theories:

    a) kid with firecracker (classic)
    b) crazy lady with cigarette (not the first time it’s happened)
    c) Donald Trump “fan letter” gone wrong (too soon?)
    d) Hot love letter (heh)

    PS – they really need another sign up – as you pull into lot – I watched quite a few people pull some fancy backwards parking maneuvers… > <

  • WS Native August 28, 2015 (6:26 pm)

    Only One Fire Truck ?

  • Pibal August 28, 2015 (6:32 pm)

    So… I am including a copy of this mailbox photo with all my bills for the next month. That should buy me at least a month’s reprieve from all late fees. With this newly discovered increase in cash flow, I may just take the wife out for dinner tonight!

  • Matt S. August 28, 2015 (7:03 pm)

    Poor mailbox. :(

  • dcn August 28, 2015 (7:16 pm)

    My mother’s birthday card was in there. :(
    And what’s strange is that on the mailbox, it says the last pickup time is 6 pm. We dropped off the card around 5:50 pm. Does that mean that there was no 6 pm pickup that day?
    At least the gift was sent separately.

  • Mike August 28, 2015 (7:37 pm)

    Wow, just the tampering with mail can carry a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison. Add to that the destruction of property.

  • sc August 28, 2015 (8:09 pm)

    I know when I mail my property taxes I take it inside the post office. Isn’t this a federal offence?

  • old timer August 28, 2015 (8:35 pm)

    Wonder if the new/replacement box will include a camera with reviewable recording.

  • Jim P. August 28, 2015 (9:19 pm)

    No idea if there is a connection but there was someone rummaging through the dumpsters behind the massage place and eye clinic around 4 AM I could hear bottles and plastic stuff being tossed on the ground from a fair ways off.

    The timing is close enough to be suspicious.

  • cz August 28, 2015 (9:24 pm)

    Good luck trying to get any help from USPS, recovering your loss.
    Earlier this year a mail truck in our area of West Seattle was “compromised”. We don’t know if it was stolen or what, but USPS sent out notices that if we were missing any mail, to let them know. Of course, if you’re missing mail you don’t know it, which is what happened in my case.
    Approx. a month ago, I was parked down at Alki and got a ticket for “expired tabs”. Putting two and two together, I realized my renewal notice must have been with the stolen mail. I spoke with a supervisor at the Westwood post office and they gave me a phone number to contact (I believe) the mail commissioner, to open a case. I went through the entire process.
    In the meantime I paid my $47.00 expired tabs ticket.
    I’ve never heard back from USPS about my case.
    I hope they catch the idiot that stole the mail (or truck) in the first place. Maybe he can reimburse me for my $47.00 ticket. This never (ever) would have happened had I received my renewal notice and I feel it’s the responsibility of USPS, to get my mail to me, safely!
    Perhaps better locks, alarm systems, steering wheel locks and dash camera’s in their trucks.

  • Clueless August 28, 2015 (10:14 pm)

    I’ve filed a lot of cases on line. Never heard back on any of them even when I followed up. PO on CA Abe wasn’t able to help either.. I actually had more info than they did.

  • chefjoe August 28, 2015 (10:24 pm)

    Cz, I can usually tell when my tabs expire because it’s after the month and year stickers on my back plate. It’s easy to spot when you do your walk around to see tires look inflated, no lights have burnt out (so many people are down a brake light), and nobody swapped or stole your license plate.

  • Friend O'Dinghus August 29, 2015 (4:58 am)

    Cz, or instead of the extra expense of ‘better locks, alarm systems, steering wheel locks and dash camera’s in their trucks’ to all of the rest of us, you could use the calendar feature with reminders on your cell phone, or mark it on an old fashioned wall calendar, or do as the wise ChefJoe suggests above.
    By the way, compromised may mean that the vehicle leaked and all the mail got wet. You do not know if any of your solutions would have prevented your reminder notice from arriving. Heck, we don’t even know if the reminder notice not arriving was even related. It could have been caused by a totally different event in the sort center for all we know.
    Simply marking a calendar, electronic or otherwise, and walking around looking at your vehicle once every couple of months, would triple your protection against this sort of thing, and costs zero to anyone, including yourself.

  • Eric August 29, 2015 (5:13 am)

    For the past few weeks I have been having to start work at 4 am. Luckily I have a quick commute so I leave my house around 3:30. I can tell you that at 3:30 am, Westwood Village is a sketchy place to be. Yesterday I was going to stop by the QFC to get some coffee fixings, except when I approached the store, there were close to a dozen punks walking through the parking lot looking up to no good, so I kept on driving. That McDonald’s being 24/7 now really is a magnet for low lifes to be hanging out at. They should really limit the hours on that place.

  • Bonnie August 29, 2015 (5:52 am)

    I didn’t receive my expired tabs notice in the mail too one time and accidentally let my tabs expire. I figured it was mostly my fault because I am the one who saw the car daily and should have noticed the tabs were expired.

  • joel August 29, 2015 (7:02 am)

    the younger days we TP’d houses when bored – maybe burning mailboxes is the new TPing houses?

  • LyndaB August 29, 2015 (9:19 am)

    If it’s after post office hours, I walk it in to drop off my mail. During the day, I’ll use the drop off box. I guess I’m just realistic that the box is attractive thieves in the dark of night.

    For car tabs, I bought my car on my birthday so I remember that way. :)

  • cz August 30, 2015 (1:52 am)

    It sounds like some people on this blog are rooting more for the criminal that stole the mail, rather than the people who are suffering the consequences of the jerk.
    I’m only one person, posting one incident. I’m sure other people were effected, as well.
    My point is, it’s a federal responsibility for USPS to deliver the mail and get it to where it belongs, in one piece. If they can’t keep their trucks (and our mail) secure, they need to take greater security measures.
    For other people effected by the stolen mail incident, it could have been an insurance check, a letter from a loved one serving in the army halfway across the world, a birthday card that would have made an elderly person’s day……I could go on and on.
    So Chefjoe & Friend O’Dingus, don’t give me this, I should have walked around my vehicle checking to see when my tabs expire or mark it on my calendar. You’re missing the entire point of what happened.
    I don’t think they ever caught the criminal, so maybe next time they steal another batch of mail it will effect you directly.

  • Eric August 30, 2015 (8:47 am)

    cz, who is rooting for the criminals?

  • jarval August 30, 2015 (9:39 am)

    Cz, omg, please stop, you are cracking me up! They think you are serious…I mean, who could actually think that way?! No part of it makes any sense at all. When you registered the car did they say “renewals are due yearly” or “renewals are due when you get a reminder, and a dry pair of pullups”? You know you need tabs on the car, period. Dol contracted with usps to send reminder as a courtesy. Usps has no obligation to you at all. Did you mail it to yourself? Do you walk out of the grocery store without paying, if no one reminds you? Pay your bills, be responsible, and sac up if you slip up. Eff the usps, they are a waste of space, but so is anyone who can sleep at night being such a lame member of society.

  • Karen August 31, 2015 (11:34 am)

    Sad this happened. One way it could be solved with a person in a toll-both like structure taking your mail, but then we’d have to pay for another living-wage, benefited job and seems most people aren’t willing to pay for public servants these days.

  • Karla September 8, 2015 (4:35 pm)

    September 8 and the mailbox hasn’t yet been replaced. I’m surprised that it takes so long to install a new one, has anyone heard a timetable yet?

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