Just before 4:30 a.m. CT on Aug. 15, the driver of a Loraas recycling truck picked up a bin of recyclables in the 2200-block of Northridge Drive. Watching from a video monitor in the cab, he noticed a person tossed into the back – or hopper – of the truck.
“As much as it’s scary to hear about, it’s really scary for the driver too – to think that he had to stop the truck and call 911,” said Alexa Mofazzali, digital media specialist with Loraas.
It’s not known what the man was doing inside the bin, or whether he was conscious or unconscious.
The Saskatoon Fire Department arrived, placed a ladder on the side of the truck and got into the hopper. Once freed, paramedics checked over the man, but he didn’t need to go to the hospital.
Mofazzali said she’s only aware of one other incident like this for the company, but the “close call” underscores the need for safety.
“Stay out of the bins,” she said.
Labels on the bins warn against people playing in, on or around the receptacles. They also tell the reader not to “occupy this container for any purpose.”
The incident comes after two deaths last winter in clothing donation bins – one that happened in Vancouver, the other in Toronto. Unlike dumpsters, the danger posed by donation bins has to do with the mailbox-design slot to prevent theft.
In the Saskatoon case, the unidentified man was fortunate the fire department could get to him inside the truck.
Assistant chief Wayne Rodger said people might be exploring, looking for items, or looking for shelter, but there are better choices than this.
“Going into one, obviously, poses the threat or the risk of inadvertently going into the truck,” Rodger said.
There is also the risk of injury posed by items that might already be sitting in the bin, he said.