By Keith Gushard
The 200 customers of the U.S. Post Office in Harmonsburg must make a 12-mile round-trip to get their mail for at least the next two weeks due to major structural damage to the building.
A pickup truck struck the south side of the one-story brick building housing Harmonsburg’s post office on Wednesday at 9:20 a.m., according to Pennsylvania State Police at Meadville.
According to state police, the driver of the truck, John Shaw, 47, of Harmonsburg said he attempted to depress the brake pedal but hit the gas pedal instead. Shaw, who was wearing a seat belt, wasn’t injured and his truck, a 2001 Dodge Dakota pickup, received only minor damage, police said. Charges are pending against Shaw, according to a news release filed by Trooper Daniele Marshall.
The building wasn’t so lucky, according to Tad Kelley, a U.S. Postal Service spokesman in Pittsburgh.
“The building was closed because of structural damage,” Kelley said.
Harmonsburg residents don’t have home delivery. Instead, they pick up their mail and packages at the post office.
With the Harmonsburg building now closed for repairs, the 200 post office box holders at Harmonsburg must go to Linesville to get their mail and packages until repairs are completed, Kelley said.
“I’ve been told the repairs will take two weeks — maybe longer,” Kelley said.
The U.S. Postal Service doesn’t own the building but leases it from Thomas A. Shearer of Hartstown, who isn’t optimistic about a two-week turnaround because damage to the building was extensive.
“It will be at least two weeks — depending on the weather,” Shearer said Thursday. “The (service) counter was destroyed and the roll-down door (at the counter) is shot.
“The brick work on the south (exterior) wall is half cracked. I don’t know if I’ll have to replace 50 percent of it or 100 percent of it. You can’t lay bricks in the snow.”
Shearer said he still was working to determine damage estimates Thursday.
Meanwhile, Kelley said what happened in Harmonsburg isn’t unusual.
“Actually, it happens quite often — and we don’t know why,” Kelley said.