Some of the letters and magazines arriving in Winthrop this week have been charred and crispy. Others have been smoked or a tad waterlogged.

But the fact that there has been any mail at all has surprised some residents, who were expecting the worst after a fire destroyed town’s post office last week.

“We didn’t get mail for one day, and the following mail day, they were back at it,” said Jim Betts, a Winthrop retiree who has received two plastic bags of mail that survived the blaze.

Some of it was singed, and one item was still damp from the water that firefighters used to knock down the fire; but the mail was in fine condition overall, Betts said. One of the pieces was an updated credit card he wasn’t expecting and wouldn’t have thought to replace if it had been destroyed in the fire.

“I was really impressed they were able to put it together that quickly,” said Betts. “Hats off to both the postal workers and the Fire Department for the work they did.”

The U.S. Postal Service announced this week that it will tear down the burned-out remains of the Winthrop post office, but officials have not announced a timeline for that work or definitely said whether the downtown facility will be replaced.

“Right now the focus is on the salvaged mail and no timetable for reopening the facility has been established,” Steve Doherty, a Postal Service spokesman, wrote in an email a few days after the fire.

For those Winthrop-area residents and businesspeople who are still concerned about mail lost in the fire, the Postal Service has a series of recommendations. The first is to try to establish whether the mail was at the Winthrop post office during the fire, either by using online tracking codes or contacting the senders or recipients of the mail.

If the mail was not insured or didn’t have a tracking code, another way to search for it is a missing mail search via the “Help” section of the Postal Service website. To conduct one of those searches, the Postal Service asks for information such as sending and receiving addresses, the size and type of envelope used for the mail, a description of its contents, and pictures.

Charles Eichacker can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

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