Authorities say an arsonist has set fire to the mailbox in front of the post office at Gaston in Washington County.
Many pieces of outgoing mail deposited over the weekend have been damaged by gasoline and water.
The Gaston Rural Fire Department says the fire started between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. Monday, and smoke was coming from the mailbox when firefighters arrived to put it out.
The department says a gasoline canister with a lit wick was found inside the mailbox.
The fire department says the investigation will be handled by the Washington County sheriff's office and the U.S. Postal Service.
Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity between 5 and 6 a.m. is urged to contact the Washington County Sheriffs Office at (503) 629-0111. Anyone who deposited mail in the outside drop box should contact the Post Office.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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