A 63-year-old postal carrier was found dead in her mail truck Friday amid a record-breaking heat wave in the Los Angeles area, CBS LA reports. Peggy Frank was found unresponsive in the Woodland Hills area, where temperatures had reached 117 degrees that afternoon, by a neighbor. Paramedics called to the scene could not revive her. Frank, who had worked for the US Postal Service for 28 years, was close to retirement. Friday was her first day back on the job after months off due to a broken ankle, KTLA reports. An autopsy has been completed, but her cause of death has been "deferred pending additional tests" and may not be determined for weeks, the coroner's office tells People.
Frank's family believes the heat may have played a role in her death, and a colleague tells the Los Angeles Daily News that in such high temperatures, it can be as much as 15 degrees hotter inside the mail trucks, which do not have air conditioning. "They make us lock them and seal them for safety of the mail, but it’s horrible in there," she says. But a USPS rep, while expressing sympathy for Frank's family, says that mail is delivered in "all kinds of weather, including high temperatures" and that "the Postal Service strives to ensure that [carriers] have the tools and training to do so safely," including by reminding them to keep hydrated, have water and ice available for their entire route, stay in the shade when possible, and wear appropriate clothing. (Read more heat wave stories.)