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Postal Worker Dies On Route Amid Extreme Heat

Eugene Gates Jr., a 40-year USPS veteran, collapsed in Dallas as temperatures reached triple digits

A postal worker collapsed and died Tuesday while on his route in Dallas amid extreme heat, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

Eugene Gates Jr., 66, had been a letter carrier for the USPS for nearly 40 years and had set out for work at the Lakewood Postal Station in Dallas Tuesday morning. Around 4 p.m. CDT, Gate’s wife received a call that her husband had been rushed to the hospital, where he later died, she told local outlet FOX 4.

The United States Postal Service logo is seen on a new electric postal vehicle during an event announcing the Postal Service’s plan on implementing electric vehicles, at the Postal Service Headquarters on December 20, 2022, in Washington, DC. The U.S. Postal Service announced it intends to deploy over 66,000 electric vehicles by 2028. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Gates had collapsed in a front yard amid the intense heat before the homeowner came outside to perform CPR, Gates’ family said.

While a cause of death has yet to be determined, temperatures Tuesday rose to dangerous levels. The high of Tuesday was 98 degrees Fahrenheit, but the AccuWeather RealFeel® Sun Temperatures had broken into the triple digits.

U.S. Postal carriers start their routes around 8:30 a.m. local time, according to FOX 4. By 8:45 a.m., AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures had already reached 92 degrees. They rose to above 100 degrees just before noon and reached as high as 113 degrees by the time Gates’ wife received the call about her husband.

Between 108 and 115 degrees, the AccuWeather warns of “dangerous heat” and advises caution as there is the danger of dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps if outside for extended periods of time, especially while doing strenuous activities.

“Stay indoors in air conditioning or, if air conditioning is not available, in a well-ventilated area away from direct sun exposure,” the guide warns. It also advises minimizing outdoor activity, “especially for older adults, infants, and those with sensitive medical conditions.”

The health warnings and caution advised to sensitive groups also applies to AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures as “low” as 90 degrees.

The heat index, or how the National Weather Service measures what the temperature feels like to the human body when combining relative humidity with air temperature, had reached 115 degrees on the day Gates collapsed — the highest measured in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1980, according to NBCDFW.

Amid the sweltering heat, the National Weather Service had extended an excessive heat warning Monday afternoon through the end of the day Wednesday.

When AccuWeather reached out to the USPS, the postal service responded with a short statement.

“The Postal Service continues to be saddened by the loss of life suffered this week involving a Lakewood Post Office Letter Carrier. Our thoughts continue to be with his family, friends and colleagues at this time,” USPS spokesperson Carol Hunt told AccuWeather.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

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