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.
"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.
"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.