Investigation seeks cause of Bedford County post office blaze, identity of woman killed

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Jul. 7—BEDFORD — An investigation into a fire that destroyed a more than 100-year-old post office building Sunday and claimed the life of a woman found inside the structure is continuing.

The building was occupied by both the Woodbury Borough post office and two apartments.

An autopsy confirmed smoke inhalation and thermal injuries caused the woman's death, but Bedford County Coroner Rusty Styer said DNA testing will need to be completed to confirm her identity.

State police, including a fire marshal, are working to narrow down what caused the fire, Trooper Christopher Fox said.

That's a process that won't be achieved overnight, he said.

Southern Cove fire Chief Darl Ritchey said there are indications the blaze started somewhere on the first floor, but the fire marshal is still examining evidence to narrow down the exact location.

Most of the building was lost.

Six Bedford County volunteer fire departments, led by New Enterprise-based Southern Cove, and six from Blair County responded to the fire.

Southern Cove spent nearly eight hours at the scene battling fire and smoke.

Built on Route 36, the building served as Woodbury's post office for at least several decades, in the heart of the community's main street, Ritchey said.

The brick-encased wood frame post office had two apartments and was originally built in 1909, records show.

A post card from the era indicates the structure originally served as the Cove Lodge for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and, for a time, Farmers Bank, in the first half of the 1900s.

Postal Service officials confirmed that area residents with post office boxes at the facility can now retrieve mail at the Curryville office, approximately four miles north in Blair County.

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