There have been many odd and tragic sights stemming from the wine country wildfires raging through Northern California.
One of the most unusual images, however, was captured by Douglas Thron's drone on Wednesday, showing aerial shots of a lone US Postal Service truck driver, identified by his bosses on Friday as Trevor Smith, delivering mail to a devastated Santa Rosa neighborhood, where most of the homes were burned to the ground. He was driving on Piner Street through a senior mobile home park and was delivering mail to any mailbox that was left standing. Some seniors he knew from his route had asked him to do that, hoping they'd be allowed back into their homes, and he was honoring that request, said Augustine "Gus" Ruiz, the US Postal spokesman for California.
The aerial view shows the truck moving slowly, and eerily, down a residential street, stopping at mailboxes that were left unscathed. The scene is poignant and eerie and instantly brings to mind the postal motto: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
Thron, a real estate cinematographer who lives in Oakland, said he wasn't sure exactly what street it was on, but when he "witnessed the devastation I was blown away as it looked more like a warplane had flown over and blown up the area then a fire since the houses were completely burned to the ground as well as the cars."
At one point, Thron said, the mail carrier waved up at him.
"This is an example of the long standing relationship that has been established between our carriers and their customers based on trust," San Francisco District Manager Noemi Luna said in a statement. "The carrier in question was honoring a request by a few customers who were being let back in the fire zone to retrieve personal items. A few customers asked the carrier to leave their mail if the mailbox was still standing because they could not get to the annex to retrieve it."