Yuma, Arizona - On Monday, just after 5:30 am, a report was received of a person trapped inside a garbage truck in the area of 8th Avenue and 22nd Place. Yuma Fire Department personnel arrived to find Yuma Police officers with a C and D Disposal refuse collection truck at that location. A person was inside the truck’s cargo compartment along with a full load of garbage, and unable to get out.
It was determined that the 55 year old male had been sleeping inside a dumpster near Yuma Regional Medical Center, 2400 South Avenue A, when the refuse truck had made a pick up, emptying the dumpster into the cargo compartment of the truck. The driver stopped to unlock a trash container at the 8th Avenue location and heard screaming coming from inside.
Attempts to extricate the person through the load of trash were unsuccessful and the decision was made to dump out the load in a vacant lot. Dumping the load mechanically was not able to be done, as it would have required compaction of the trash in the cargo compartment. Additional YFD personnel were called to the scene and began the process of manually removing the load.
After approximately 3 hours, and removing 6 tons of refuse, the person was successfully extracted and transported to YRMC for further evaluation. Two firefighters received minor injuries during the extrication process. Trespassing on and in commercial dumpsters is very dangerous, and this incident could easily have resulted in serious injuries or a fatality.