Firefighters rescue woman from clothing donation bin

Firefighters rescue woman from clothing donation bin
Harms called 911 to report what he had seen. Firefighters responded and used a smartphone camera to peer into the bin to confirm Harms report.

Yeah, theres somebody in here, one firefighter said in a video of the rescue.

Really? another firefighter responded.

The firefighters were able to tip the bin over so the woman could climb out on her own. She did not appear to have been injured and said she was just sleeping.

Several similar incidents in the Vancouver area over the last few years have resulted in death. Most recently, a woman in her 30s died in July, after becoming stuck in the door of a clothing donation bin.

A man was in Surrey, B.C., in 2016, and a 45-year-old homeless woman died in a bin in Pitt Meadows, B.C., in 2015.

The boxes are designed to keep donated items from being removed, which can make escape difficult for people who end up inside.

Jeremy Hunka of Union Gospel Mission, a charity which works with people experiencing homelessness in and around Vancouver, says efforts are underway to redesign clothing donation bins to block people from being able to get inside in the first place.

A couple groups are studying the design to see if theres something [that] can be done to make it safer, he said. We need to protect people, or else people will die.

Warning signs alerting people to the dangers of crawling inside have already been added to some bins.

With a report from CTV Vancouvers Sheila Scott

Firefighters peer inside a clothing donation bin in Abbotsford, B.C., before helping a woman trapped inside the box get to safety.
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