RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Customers of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Stewart branch in Richmond’s Museum District said they have been shut out of the building for nearly a week, unable to access their mail.
“The post office is temporarily closed due to a carbon monoxide leak,” Philip Bogenberger, USPS Strategic Communications Specialist for the North Carolina and Virginia District told 8News in an email. “The Postal Service leases the facility and property owner is in the process of making necessary repairs. We hope normal operations will resume soon.”
On Thursday, Sept. 15, customers said they first faced a locked door at the USPS branch at 3517 Floyd Avenue, just blocks away from Richmond’s busy Carytown neighborhood.
“This one, without going to Broad Street, services all of the Museum District and upper part of the Fan and then all of Carytown,” one nearby resident said. “It’s been a pain.”
A printed sign taped to the door stated:
Due to unseen circumstances, we will be closed for the remainder of the day. We are sorry to inconvenience you however we will be glad to serve you at the following locations.
West Hampton Post Office located at 805 Glenburnie Rd Richmond, Virginia 23226
Ridge Post Office located at 10509 Patterson Ave Richmond, Virginia 23238
West End Post Offiice located at 2220 Dabney Rd Richmond, Virginia 23230
If you need to speak to someone please contact 804-285-1969
For annoyed and upset USPS patrons like Kevin Robinson, the impact of the closure had a rippling effect. As a general manager of a car rental company, he told 8News that he went to the branch last Thursday, as he does each week, for his employees’ paychecks, but was unable to pick them up because of the closure.
The signage on the front door was later updated to alert consumers that their mail was at the Westhampton Post Office on Glenburnie Road. However, residents who came by the branch on Floyd Avenue Tuesday told 8News that their mail was not at that location.
Mail was still visible Tuesday in P.O. boxes through the glass doors of the shuttered branch.
“This post office is a busy one,” Robinson said. “This serves the majority of the west end. It’s shocking that that this would happen in Carytown with all the businesses. That’s pretty unprofessional.”
In addition to customers who showed up with letters and packages to mail who faced the locked door, Robinson said he noticed DHL, Fedex and other delivery drivers taking their packages back, unable to deliver them to the recipients.
Robinson said as he went back, day-after-day, to try to access the paychecks, he met one patron who was frustrated because they could not pick up medications for them or their pet. Another customer could not pick up a passport for a trip. Other people were reportedly barred from dropping off voter registration forms.
Robinson told 8News he ultimately rerouted the paychecks to his office. But for others nearby, this closure is not an isolated incident.
“It’s been so sporadic in the service,” one resident said. “Many, many, many times, I have seen those two post boxes overflow, or if they weren’t overflowing, then the mail was sticking out where anybody could rummage through it and take whatever’s in there, and there were packages, not just letters.”
A postal worker could be seen Tuesday afternoon removing pieces of mail that had been dropped off at the street. He also tried to get into the building, but was unsuccessful, due to the locked doors.
The updated sign outside the Stewart USPS branch stated that the temporary closure was due to electrical problems. But lights were visibly on around the exterior of the building. A spokesperson told 8News that the closure was instead due to a carbon monoxide leak.
Post office officials have not yet provided an opening date.
The branch hours listed on USPS’ website did not note any changes to operation, as of Tuesday afternoon.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News for updates.