Alert driver saves man tossed into San Francisco dump truck

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Alert driver saves man tossed into SF dump truck
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A San Francisco man is lucky to have just minor injuries after he found himself dumped into recycling truck on garbage collection day.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A man is lucky to have just minor injuries after a most unusual rescue in San Francisco. He found himself in a dumpster on garbage collection day. And it if wasn't for an alert truck driver, things could have ended very badly.

It's tough to surprise San Francisco firefighters, but a few in the city's Sunset District were stunned Tuesday morning to find themselves crawling into the back of a recycling truck to rescue someone.

Man rescued from recycling truck in San Francisco.

"This is a little bit out of the ordinary for us," said SFFD Battalion Chief Kevin Smith.

They say a man was sleeping inside a dumpster full of cardboard set to be recycled. And, unfortunately for him, Tuesday is pickup day.

The driver of the Recology truck didn't know he had dumped a man into the back of his truck until he heard a strange sound.

"He had heard a banging inside the truck, it was an unusual sound," said Recology spokesperson Robert Reed. "And he yelled out and the person yelled back so there was a verbal communication between the driver and the man who was in the dumpster."

The driver drove straight to the fire department a couple of blocks away at 16th and Irving and asked for help.

"This is a very unusual situation," Reed said. "But the driver, his name is Mike Jones, he did a heck of a job."

The man inside the truck did get smushed -- there is a hydraulic push wall inside the truck that compresses the cardboard. But the driver turned it off when he realized there was a man among the cardboard.

Man rescued from recycling truck in San Francisco.

"We understand he had a shoulder injury," said Reed. "But we are happy he is healthy and survived."

"He did a great job," said Smith. "If he hadn't heard him he would've been trapped in that thing all day long and could've died. So he is a hero, he saved his life."

The driver has worked for Recology for 20 years. Having a man in the belly of his truck is a first.

ABC7 News was told that the driver did give an interview to the company's safety department and then he headed back out to finish his route.