It still smells!
When the South Jamesport post office closed April 19 due to an odor in the building, it was expected to reopen within a few days.
But more than 10 days later, the tiny post office remains closed.
“We thought we would be able to cut a hole in the floor and extract the source of the odor,” U.S. Postal Service spokesperson Maureen Marion said Tuesday.
“That was not the case. They may have to lift the building,” she said.
The original plan wouldn’t work because the building has no crawl space and they wouldn’t be able to reach the source of the odor, which is believed to be a dead animal or animals under the building, she said.
But in investigating the odor, a second problem has been discovered.
A facilities engineer who was brought recently in to further assess the site discovered that one side of the building is significantly sloped, according to Ms. Marion.
“As far as we could tell, it has nothing to do with the odor issue,” she said. “This has been ongoing, and part of the building is sinking.”
“So now we have two problems,” Ms. Marion said. “The engineer said it is a measurable, noticeable slump and that is a problem. Something is going on, and they’ve got to find out what, and fix it.”
The building on Second Street in South Jamesport was built in 1907 and has 279 mailboxes. It’s only about 430 square feet.
The building is leased, and postal officials are working with the landlord to find and remove the source of the odor, Ms. Marion said. It’s unclear who would pay for the cost of repairs.
“We had expected it would be an unusual but quicker fix,” Ms. Marion said. “We don’t know what kind of animal it is. We had originally though it was a raccoon or some type of larger animal. It’s just one of those things you would think would be simpler than it is.”
The building will remain closed pending further assessment of how to address both problems. No time frame for that has been estimated.
In the meantime, people with post office boxes at South Jamesport can pick up their mail at the Jamesport post office at 1451 Route 25.
“We are certainly not trying to inconvenience our customers, but this is definitely a sanitation issue and nobody should be in there,” Ms. Marion said.
In her years with the postal service, Ms. Marion said there have been cases of animal infestations in postal buildings or situations in which where turkeys or, in Maine, moose, have disrupted mail delivery.
But she couldn’t recall another time a dead animal caused a sanitary issue in a postal service facility.
Photo credit: Tara Smith