The U.S. Postal Service closed the Ipswich Post Office Wednesday because of a leaking roof that had become a safety hazard.
"We had to emergency suspend the operations of the office because of the roof," said Karen Fredrickson, manager of marketing for the U.S. Postal Service Dakotas District in Sioux Falls. "It is something we didn't want to do, but we can't be in the facility anymore when the safety of our customers and employees is at risk."
All mail services will be moved to Aberdeen, she said.
Ipswich residents who have a post office box now have to pick up their mail at the Aberdeen Post Office at 1202 S. Fifth St. Residents should bring identification to pick up their mail, Fredrickson said.
Those receiving mail delivery within the Ipswich city limits or in the rural areas will still receive mail; however, it could be late, she said. Letter carriers will pick up and sort their mail in Aberdeen and will need travel time, Fredrickson said. There will be no staff in Ipswich.
The post office will reopen at a later date but not until after an inspection crew from Denver determines the extent of the roof damage and other possible building damage, she said.
The post office has a moldy smell, and the inspectors will be looking for mold damage as well as roof damage, she said. The building, at 336 First Ave., is leased.
A mail collection box in front of the post office will be used for outgoing mail. That mail will be picked up at 5 p.m.
Ella Heinz, 85, who receives her mail at post office box, said it will be difficult for her to pick up her mail in Aberdeen.
"I don't know how that will work," she said. "I won't be able to pick up my mail every day. I don't know if I can get it once a week. I think they should have someone bring the mail out here. Everybody can't just run to Aberdeen to get their mail. That is impossible."
Heinz said she doesn't like to drive much and that gasoline is expensive.
"The post office told me that I can sign a paper to have someone pick up my mail, but I don't know how that will work," she said.
Heinz said that she has noticed water on the post office floor before and has noticed it the past couple of days.
Fredrickson said a postal employee recently slipped in the water and fell.
"Hopefully this (the closure) is going to be a very short-term thing," she said. "We want to assure our customers that this a temporary condition and that the Ipswich Post Office is not closing."
The length of time the post office will be closed is not known.
"We can't give a time frame until the facility assessment is completed," she said.
Betty Hoyle is the Ipswich Post Office officer in charge. The office has about five employees, including Hoyle, and they will work in a small section of the Aberdeen Post Office, Fredrickson said.
Ipswich post office box customers will not be given a new box in Aberdeen but will pick up their mail from an Ipswich staff member, she said.