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USPS postal worker dies after collapsing on his route during extreme heatwave
Featured Image Credit: Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth

USPS postal worker dies after collapsing on his route during extreme heatwave

The 66-year-old was found collapsed in someone's front yard

A US postal worker has died after collapsing on his route during an extreme heatwave in Dallas, Texas.

The US Postal Service (USPS) said that Eugene Gates Jr was working his route on Tuesday (20 June) when he collapsed in someone's front yard.

The 66-year-old was found by a homeowner who attempted to resuscitate him with CPR, but he tragically died.

Texas has this week endured a severe heatwave with temperatures climbing into the triple digits and breaking records in some places.

On the day Eugene died the heat index, taken by calculating a combination of heat and humidity, would have meant it felt like 117F (47C).

Anything above 115F is considered to be a level of 'danger' by the National Weather Service (NWS). They have warned that such heat can lead to health problems such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially among those doing physical activity or who have 'prolonged exposure'.

66-year-old USPS worker Eugene Gates collapsed and died during a heatwave.
Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth

An excessive heat warning had been issued by the NWS for the Dallas-Fort Worth region of Texas.

The USPS issued a statement about the 66-year-old, who's cause of death has not yet been determined, and said they were 'deeply saddened' by his passing.

They said: "The Postal Service is deeply saddened by the loss of life suffered involving a Lakewood Post Office Letter Carrier.

"Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time."

Carla Gates, the wife of the 66-year-old, told WFAA she was 'mad' at USPS for her husband being outside working during the heatwave.

"No one should have been outside working like that when the heat index is that high. No one. Deliver the mail earlier or later, or wait," she said.

“Am I mad at the postal service? Yes. Am I angry? Yes. The mail will still be there, but my husband won’t."

According to neighbors who spoke to Fox 4, Gates 'loved his job' and 'loved the neighbors' he got to interact with on his route.

Eugene Gates leaves behind wife Carla (pictured), two children and multiple grandchildren.
Fox 4 Dallas-Fort Worth

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that around 70 percent of post vehicles don't have air conditioning, while Congress is working on a bill which would require this to be updated and AC made mandatory for all of them.

It's called the Peggy Frank Memorial Act in honor of a USPS employee who died of heat exhaustion at work in California in 2018 when the temperature was 117F.

OSHA also estimates that since 2015 at least 270 postal workers have suffered from illness or even hospitalization due to heat exposure.

According to the New York Post the USPS had changed the time their workers start delivering mail from 7:30am to 8:30am, but following a union meeting in the wake the death of the 66-year-old father and grandfather it was being changed back.

UNILAD has contacted the USPS for further comment.

Topics: US News, Weather, News, Health