Mail Damaged in Semi-Truck Fire Impacts Iowa State Library

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AMES, Iowa -- The Ames Postal Service says the semi - truck which caught on fire earlier this week was full of mail.

On Thursday, the semi was transporting mail from Ames to the Des Moines Post Office processing center when the cab burst into flames on Interstate 35 near Ankeny.

Ames Postmaster, Todd Oxley, said most of the letter mail received water damage however most packages were destroyed.

"A lot of the packages were in equipment that was more open to the flames so some of the packages especially from Neveda actually were burned," he said.

The truck had mail from  Ames, Nevada, Gilbert, Roland, McCallsburg, Ellsworth, Jewell, Kamrar, Blairsburg, Garden City, Radcliffe, Williams and Dow. Also on the truck were resource materials belonging to Iowa State.

"We're a little worried, there is a few things on the list that may be out of print but we have book dealers and we’ll keep going for them as much as we can," said  Library business manager, Shelley Hawkins.

Hawkins said the University had shipped 24 books to share with other schools libraries, all of  which were destroyed in fire. The estimated cost in damages is at least $1,000.

The mail processing center in Des Moines is attempting to salvage other pieces of mail by laying them out to dry under fans and heating lamps. Items that cannot be saved will ultimately be thrown away, according to Oxley. He said those who believe their items was on the truck should contact the post office and expect a delay in delivery.

"If we can find out where they mailed it and when they mailed it on Tuesday July 21st  , then we should be able to tell whether or not it was likely to have been on that truck," said Oxley.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation however the truck driver's wife told Channel 13 the fire was cause due to a malfunction with the steering wheel bearing.