Witnesses to the rescue of a homeless man from a disposal truck in Penticton, said the man appeared to be fine following the incident.
Crystal, who was working the early shift at the Husky gas station across the street Wednesday morning, said the man came into the store at the gas station and told her all about it.
"He said it scared the crap out of him, that it was a close call and he felt thankful to be alive,” she said.
The man and his dog were sleeping in a cardboard recycling dumpster at the Village Square shopping centre at 1636 Main Street, when a disposal truck picked up the large can and emptied it into the truck’s compactor.
As the operator began to compact the load, he could hear banging coming from inside..
According to Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth, with the Penticton RCMP, the man had fallen approximately 15 feet in the empty truck and had to be extricated by the fire department.
The uninjured dog was also retrieved at the scene and returned to his owner.
Crystal said she saw a fire truck, ambulance and police car arrive at the location. The firefighters had one ladder up against the truck and a second ladder down into the truck, she said. Somebody went down and came back up with the dog that looked like a pit bull.
The man and the dog appeared to be OK and stuck around for a while.
It was later when he came in the store that he told her his story.
She gave him a glass of water for the dog and they went on their way.
The man was further helped by a regular customer at the nearby A&W Restaurant, said an employee named Mary, who was working the early shift.
“He was sitting on the curb talking to a police officer and a customer bought him a bacon and egger sandwich and ran it out to him,” she said. “He then took the sandwich and walked away with his dog.”
Both witnesses said they see the man and his dog in the area frequently.
“He is always in the dumpsters looking for stuff, which is really sad,” said Mary.
Two men walking through Village Square Thursday morning said they were friends of the man, whose first name is Miles.
They said they see often see him looking for food and water for his dog.
“He never asks for money, he is very independent," said Chris Elliott, one of the friends. “He is a really nice and generous guy who helps others, so we are glad that he is OK. I’ve also never known him to sleep in a dumpster, he usually stays to himself in a campsite up in the hills."
Elliott added he wished there was more in the community to help people like Miles.
Penticton RCMP Sgt. Rick Dellebuur confirmed the man’s first name was Miles and that this had happened to him before.
On Wednesday, he told police he would look for a safer place to sleep in the future.
BFI Canada in Penticton, which was providing the waste collection service, declined to comment.