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Calgary fire department rescues man from garbage truck bin

The patient was taken to hospital with moderate injuries from compaction, fire officials said.

The Calgary Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team was called out early Tuesday to rescue a man trapped in a garbage truck.

Around 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, fire crews were called to the 3000 block of 17 Avenue SE for a confined space rescue.

According to fire officials, a garbage truck lifted a dumpster, emptied the contents into the back, and then compacted the refuse. The garbage truck driver picked up another load and emptied it into the back bin.

That’s when the driver heard something in the back. He checked the bin camera and saw that a person was among the garbage. The truck was stopped, and the driver tried to help.

EMS arrived first to see if they could free the patient.  The technical rescue crew arrived and with the use of a specialized harness – and the man’s own power – the patient was lifted from the garbage.

“Had the garbage truck been full, his injuries would have been much more serious, if not fatal,” said on-scene district Chief Brent Neil.

Carol Henke, public information officer for the CFD, said this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. She said it probably happens a couple of times a year. Henke said District Chief Neil said that was the third time he’s seen it happen.

“I think back to when I was a rookie at one station during Stampede,” Henke said.

“A garbage truck driver thought that they had maybe picked up a load that had a person in it and the entire contents of the back of the garbage truck were emptied onto a parking lot. Our crew had to sift through it to search for a possible person. So, it does happen. Not super frequently, but it’s not completely uncommon.”

The patient suffered moderate injuries from the compaction. He was taken to the hospital by EMS, fire officials said.