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Homeless man sleeping in York dumpster miraculously survives trash compactor

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A homeless man sleeping in a dumpster in York got tossed into the back of a trash truck. What happened next is scary.

"I pulled into the can, picked it up, and dumped it. I went through my normal procedures and crushed the load," said Front Load Operator with Republic Services, Jim Rife.

The metal wall moved from the front of the truck to the back meant to crush and compact everything in its path. As Rife went to move onto his next dumpster he heard something.

"It wasn’t even words. I couldn’t identify it enough, so I had to get out and look and see what it was," said Rife. "I was looking behind the truck and under the truck when he popped out of the top of the truck."

Although shaken up, the man escaped unharmed.

"Had he stood up at the wrong time when the blade was cycling, to crush and compact my load so I could move to the next can, it could have easily cut him in half," said Rife. "It was one of my biggest fears when I started driving one of these trucks. Because of that, I usually drive with my window if not all the way open, part of the way open so I can hear."

Rife ran into the man this past week. He is now in a 16-week housing program. He has a place to stay and a part-time job.

"It was a relief to find him, see him in good spirits and actually talk to him," said Rife.

Rife's actions are being commended. "It was great to know that Jim was able to prevent a tragedy from happening," said Anthony Spirito, Operations Manager with Republic Services York Division.

Spirito hopes this brings awareness to local businesses. "This is a huge reminder to anybody who has a dumpster to be aware that the homeless will try to seek shelter in the dumpsters, especially the recycling dumpsters," said Spirito.