Family Demands Answers in Death of Postal Carrier Found in Truck During Extreme Heat
The medical examiner's office is working to determine the cause of death.
The family of a California mail carrier is anxious to learn whether doing her job in extreme temperatures killed her.
Peggy Frank, 63, was found dead in her mail truck in Los Angeles earlier this month. The temperature outside was a record 117 degrees. Most United States Postal Service trucks do not have air conditioning, including Frank's.
Local weather reporters called it “the hottest it has ever been" in the area.
“When the people found her, they said she was burning up,” her son, Kirk Kessler, told Inside Edition.
Inside Edition rented a mail truck to experience firsthand what letter carriers have to endure. The thermometer outside registered 97 degrees, but inside, it was much hotter.
“I’ve been in this truck from under 10 minutes," Inside Edition’s Jim Moret said from inside the truck. "I’m already sweltering. These are like tin ovens with no insulation — its 105 degrees in here. Even driving with the window down makes almost no difference. There is virtually no movement of air inside this vehicle."
A postal employee named Carla has delivered mail for five years. She says they're not allowed to drive with the doors open and when she's delivering mail she keeps the doors locked to keep mail safe, and leaving the truck to just sit in the sun and bake.
Bradley Walker has been on the job 33 years. He says he pours water over his uniform to cool down and carries a cooler and fills it with ice, where he keeps bottles of water.
He has said over the years there have been some postal workers who have had heat stroke and paramedics needed to be called to attend to them and take them to the hospital.
Dr. Armand Dorian of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital says heat exhaustion starts with severe cramps, sweating, generalized weakness, and confusion.
“Once that happens, you have gotta get into safety, you have got to get into a cool environment,” he told Inside Edition. “You do not want heat stroke to develop."
It's said of postal carriers, "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
Now, Peggy Frank’s family wonders whether she’d be alive today if she hadn't followed that motto.
The coroner's office is still determining Frank's official cause of death.
The U.S. Postal Service told Inside Edition that their thoughts and prayers are with her family, adding that they are investigating what they have called an "unfortunate incident."
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