Burned mail: San Gabriel Valley, O.C. senders urged to check deliveries

Following a truck collision that incinerated more than 100,000 pieces of mail, postal authorities are urging Orange County and San Gabriel Valley residents to check with intended recipients to see if their mail arrived.

The outgoing mail was burned early Tuesday after two big rigs -- one a postal vehicle -- collided on the 57 Freeway in Brea.

The postal truck, which was headed for Ontario Airport, was carrying first-class cards, letters, bills and other mail from the ZIP codes beginning with the numerals 906, 917, 918, 926, 927, 928 and spanning parts of the San Gabriel Valley and Orange County, according to Richard Maher, Postal Service spokesman.

The correspondence came from a processing center in Santa Ana, Maher said. None of the lost mail included packages or registered mail, and most was headed out of Southern California.

Mail heading to the East Coast on Tuesday takes three days to arrive so senders "should start checking" on Thursday, Maher said.

"If they were paying a bill or missed a deadline and could be charged late fees, we can provide documentation to help," Maher noted.

Consumers can go to their local post office to request letters explaining that an accident caused their letters to burn. All postmasters in the affected ZIP codes should have the paperwork, Maher said. 

The fire started after a big-rig stuffed with mail rear-ended another truck around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday in the right lane of the northbound 57, near Lambert Road.

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