Woman found dead in clothing donation bin


On Tuesday morning, Toronto police responded to a call about a 35-year-old woman who was found trapped, without vital signs, halfway inside a donation bin.

Toronto police were called to Bloor Street and Dovercourt Road just before 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The latest known tragedy came on New Year's Eve, when a 34-year-old Vancouver man was found stuck in the opening of a bin near Ambleside Park.

"She climbed to get clothing and got hung up and succumbed to her injuries", Assistant Vancouver Fire Chief David Boone said after a woman was killed by a bin in the city's West Point Grey neighbourhood.

Last week, Vancouver shut down clothing donation bins in the wake of a man's death.

Remarkably, she is the seventh Canadian person to die in similar circumstances in recent times.

"Shut them all down", she said. Manager Brandon Agro told the Canadian Press that the bins most often involved in deaths are like mailboxes with an internal flap to prevent theft.

"Due to the compression to his or her chest and a lack of oxygen, this is kind of like a death trap".

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Meanwhile, the city of Burnaby - east of Vancouver - has asked all not-for-profit companies in the city to remove their bins located on private property, the Vancouver Sun reports.

The bins' hatches are created to prevent theft of donations.

Jeremy Hunka of the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver said homeless people often turn to the bins for clothing or shelter without being aware of how unsafe they can be. Sidhu said such deaths are especially horrific.

Two similar incidents were reported in Vancouver past year.

At least one charity said it's actively working to retrofit its donation bins to address the problem.

One manufacturer, Green Inspiration, said in an emailed statement it is replacing its donation bins throughout the Lower Mainland with a new design that does not allow "unauthorized entries" at all. Inclusion B.C.is removing all 146 of its B.C. bins, despite the expected revenue and job losses.

In 2017, a woman in Pennsylvania, US, died after her arm got stuck when a step stool she was standing on collapsed. Instead, they ruled the incident a case of misadventure.

Instead, the engineering instructor said he believes retrofitting the individual bins would be a less expensive and sustainable option before a safer, standardized design can be developed in the future.