Centerview post office fire

JOHNSON COUNTY FIRE Protection District personnel join investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and U.S. Postal Service on Thursday to investigate a fire that burns two bulletin boards in the Centerview Post Office lobby, 204 S. Main St.

Centerview – An overnight fire in the city’s post office lobby will not stop mail services or postal employees from completing retail transactions, U.S. Postal Service spokesman David Rupert said Thursday.

“There shouldn’t be any degradation of services,” he said.

Johnson County Fire Protection District personnel responded to the post office, 204 S. Main St., at 9:25 a.m. Thursday, after being informed about a fire that occurred Wednesday.

“We aren’t sure when, but it happened sometime last night. Someone set fire to two bulletin boards in the lobby,” Dee Bennett, fire protection district assistant chief, said at the scene. “It really didn’t amount to much. It caused very minor smoke damage to the lobby but nothing structural.”

No people were injured and no mail sustained damage.

“It happened only in the lobby area, which is open 24-hours and open to the public so there is no telling why,” Bennett said. “It was intentional though.”

The bulletin boards contained no offensive material, Bennett said.

“There was stuff on there about voter registration, selective service, hours of operation, pretty basic stuff really,” he said. “The other board was just local stuff, garage sale notices, lost dog notices and stuff like that.”

A private individual leases the building to the Postal Service, making the incident a federal crime, Bennett said.

“Because of that, the Postal Inspection Office is heading up the investigation,” he said.

State Fire Marshal’s Office personnel are aiding the investigation.

While the scene is analyzed, Rupert said, the lobby will be closed. Postal work from the building will continue.

“We have a loading dock area on the back of the building there, and those 55 people who have postal boxes can bring proper identification and pick up their mail from there,” he said. “Most retail transactions can be done from there too.”

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