Olympia officials say a man who was sleeping inside a downtown Dumpster ended up inside a city garbage truck.
The incident occurred about 5:30 a.m. Friday (Oct. 9) near Franklin Street and Legion Way.
The driver of a front-loading garbage truck was emptying Dumpsters at the beginning of his shift behind Three Magnets Brewery when he caught a glimpse of a person falling into the truck, according to Rich Hoey, public works director.
Paramedics and the Olympia Fire Department arrived on the scene after the driver called 911. The rescue workers had to remove garbage from the truck to get the man out. The man was then transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital, according to Greg Wright, deputy fire chief.
The man, whose identity has not been released, suffered minor injuries from the incident, Hoey said.
Hoey said all city Dumpsters are labeled with a warning to discourage people from climbing inside them.
“I’m just very thankful that our driver was being very attentive,” Hoey told The Olympian. “It is very dangerous to enter a Dumpster and sleep in a Dumpster. It is not a safe thing to do.”
Mark Cotey, waste resources supervisor with the city, said the man likely fell 8 to 10 feet onto the steel floor of the garbage truck when the contents were emptied. Cotey said the man complained about back pain, but was able to stand up inside the truck.
“The gentleman is very lucky to be alive,” Cotey told The Olympian, noting that people have been found sleeping in Dumpsters before, but they usually exit when a garbage truck approaches. “I’ve been here 28 years and this is the first time anybody has made it into a truck.”