Firefighters rescued a homeless man on Tuesday who had fallen asleep in a garbage dumpster and woke up in the bowels of a cardboard recycling truck. The truck was about to dump its load into a massive heap of recyclables piled twenty feet high.
The man was partially crushed by the truck’s hydraulic compacting system, which compresses the cardboard to create more space in the truck’s container. The homeless man sustained shoulder injuries, but he is expected to be OK.
NBC reported that Mike Jones, a twenty-year veteran San Francisco truck driver, heard knocking and yelling coming from the back of his truck at around 6:30 a.m., when he was about to load more trash into the truck. He immediately drove the truck to a local fire station at 16th and Irving streets to have firefighters get him out.
Robert Reed, a representative for the recycling company Recology, praised Jones for his poise and quick thinking in handling the matter. “He heard this gentleman pounding in the back of the truck,” Reed explained. “He actually talked to the gentleman from the cab of the truck and said ‘I’m going to drive you to the fire station.'”
Fire Battalion Chief Smith also commended Jones’s quick actions, “If he hadn’t heard him, he would have been trapped in that all day long and may have died,” Smith said. “So he is a hero. He saved his life.
Fortunately for the sleeping man, Jones did step in, or he would have ended in the rubble at Recology’s Recycle Central at Pier 96-an area larger than a basketball court-amidst a massive heap of recyclables. Like the hero he is, Jones headed back to work after the incident to complete his work for the day.