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California’s Remote Post Office Destroyed by Fire After Lightning Strike

A rural post office situated along Highway 271 in Leggett, Mendocino County, Northern California, met a tragic fate on Friday when it succumbed to a devastating fire ignited by an explosive lightning strike. The U.S. Postal Service conveyed the extent of the damage in a statement released on Saturday, revealing the severe impact on the branch.

The Leggett Valley Fire Department, on the day of the incident, reported that the post office faced extensive destruction as a result of the fire, which erupted amidst a severe storm accompanied by lightning and hail. While the post office suffered a total loss, neighboring establishments, notably a grocery store, were spared thanks to the swift response of emergency services.

Social media footage circulated widely, depicting the engulfing flames emanating from the ravaged structure, with a colossal redwood tree obstructing Highway 271 after its collapse. Detailing the event, the Fire Department explained how the tree, shattered by the lightning strike, crashed into the post office, precipitating the rapid spread of flames despite the concurrent downpour of rain and hail.

Shelby Felton, a lifelong resident of Leggett, recounted the unprecedented intensity of the thunderstorm, expressing astonishment at its prolonged and deafening roar. Working at the Leggett Valley Mercantile adjacent to the post office, Felton witnessed the calamity unfold.

She credited the local firefighters for their heroic efforts in containing the blaze, which spared their store from significant damage, aside from a temporary power outage.

Describing the sequence of events, Felton recounted the moment when lightning struck the tree, triggering its explosion and subsequent descent onto the post office, igniting the inferno. The fire commenced at approximately 5:40 p.m. on Friday, coinciding with the peak of the severe storm that lashed California, inundating the Bay Area with rain and blanketing parts of the Sierra Nevada with over 7 feet of snow.

In light of the post office’s closure, customers are urged to avail of services at the Garberville Post Office until further notice, as communicated by the postal service. Expressing gratitude to the Leggett community for their understanding and patience, the postal service assured ongoing efforts to restore uninterrupted service amidst the aftermath of the calamitous event.

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