A man using a dumpster to seek shelter from the cold in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley found himself trapped inside a garbage truck early Thursday morning.
Kelowna RCMP say they were called to assist after the driver of the truck heard the man banging on its walls. It’s believed he may have been cycled through the onboard compactor twice before being rescued.
Police, ambulance and firefighters were involved in the rescue in West Kelowna.
RCMP Const. Mike Della-Paolera says the man had some “minor injuries to his limbs” and was hypothermic.
Temperatures in the area have been frigid recently, with wind chill making it feel like -19 C.
Della-Paolera says whenever that happens there is a risk of people being injured as they are either exposed to the cold or move into dangerous situations in order to survive.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve heard of this,” he said of the trapped man.
Lack of shelter spaces
On Thursday evening, B.C. Housing started packing a 24-passenger “warming bus” outside a designated outdoor sheltering site in Kelowna that was set up as a place for unsheltered people to gather due to a lack of adequate housing and shelter space in the city.
The bus is in operation from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through the weekend and will be deployed again as temperatures fall.
Earlier this year, several shelter operators across B.C.’s Okanagan and Thompson regions sent an open letter to the province, municipal governments and Interior Health highlighting the lack of suitable shelter spaces in the region and the need for long-term solutions.