West Vancouver shuts down clothing donation bins after death

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West Vancouver is temporarily closing all clothing donation bins after a recent death and another scare on Wednesday. Jordan Armstrong reports – Jan 3, 2019

The District of West Vancouver has temporarily shut down its clothing donation bins after the death of man who became trapped in one on Sunday.

On Wednesday, the district said it was “committed to making the necessary changes to ensure Sunday’s tragic accident in a clothing donation bin in Ambleside Park doesn’t happen again,” and temporarily shut down all donation bins in the city.

The decision came on the same day as West Vancouver firefighters cut a clothing donation bin open over concerns someone had become trapped inside.

It happened around 2:45 p.m. at a bin near 15th Street and Marine Drive.

READ MORE: Man dies after becoming stuck in West Vancouver clothing donation bin

Fortunately, once crews got the bin open they discovered there was no one inside.

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West Vancouver police said crews were called to the scene after someone reported seeing a person climb inside and fail to climb back out.

The action came just days after a 34-year-old man died after becoming trapped in the opening of a West Vancouver clothing donation bin on Dec. 30.

WATCH: B.C. records fifth clothing donation bin death since 2015

Click to play video 'B.C. records fifth clothing donation bin death since 2015' B.C. records fifth clothing donation bin death since 2015
B.C. records fifth clothing donation bin death since 2015 – Dec 31, 2018

READ MORE: Death of woman stuck in Vancouver donation bin prompts calls for change

The City of Vancouver says 90 per cent of the more than 100 donation bins in the city have been removed, in the wake a woman’s death back in July.

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“The City of Vancouver reached out to all donation bin operators in Vancouver and determined that the public safety risk could not be adequately mitigated,” said the city in a statement.

“As a result, the City asked all operators to remove donation bins from street right-of-ways (SROW) by November 30, 2018.”

Sunday’s incident marked the fifth time since 2015 that a person died after becoming trapped in a local donation bin.

The deaths have prompted calls from homeless advocates for the bins to be removed until they can be made safer.

Residents looking to make a clothing donation in West Vancouver can find alternate places to make donations here.

In a statement, Rangeview Fabricating, one of the major manufacturers of donation bins, said it “has been investigating and working on new designs.”

“We offer our customers the ability to field modify our rolling chute model giving it added safety features due to misuse,” the company said.

“We also offer our customers with instruction on how to enable the theft feature on our mailbox bin model. The enabling of this theft feature will significantly eliminate the risk of injury due to misuse but allows for theft of product.”

The company went on to say it is working with the University of British Columbia on new designs.

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— With files from Jordan Armstrong