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Man found alive in trash facility: ‘A lot of things … went in his favor today’

Crews at the Montgomery County Solid Waste Facility in Moraine on Tuesday morning discovered a man buried alive in garbage after a trash truck dumped its load. CONTRIBUTED
Crews at the Montgomery County Solid Waste Facility in Moraine on Tuesday morning discovered a man buried alive in garbage after a trash truck dumped its load. CONTRIBUTED

Authorities said a man was lucky to be found alive in a trash heap Tuesday morning at a solid waste facility where garbage is compacted before being sent to a landfill.

The 28-year-old man, whose name had not been released Tuesday afternoon, was pulled from beneath a mound of garbage on the floor of the Montgomery County Solid Waste transfer station, having survived a journey that apparently began in Springfield, police said.

The man escaped life-threatening injuries but was taken to Kettering Hospital, authorities said. A Rumpke truck transported the man from Springfield, where he told police he was left in a Dumpster.

FIRST REPORT: Man ‘lucky to be found alive’ after being rescued from trash dumped at solid waste plant

The man was fortunate to survive the ordeal that ended at the Sandridge Drive facility, where authorities said a front loader was working to move the dumped trash toward a compacting area when the discovery was made.

“You’re looking at an individual that got picked up – most likely in a Dumpster – into a trash truck,” Moraine Police Sgt. Mike Keegan said. “Whether the trash truck ever compacted at that point – hopefully it was more toward the end of the rounds.

“And he was dumped into the facility, and he was just missed by the front loader itself,” he added. “So there were a lot of things that went in his favor today….I’m not saying he doesn’t have injuries, but they’re not as severe as they could have been.”

Montgomery County Communications Director Brianna Wooten put it more succinctly.

“I think it’s fair to say the gentleman was lucky to be found alive,” Wooten said.

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The transfer station is where private haulers deliver their loads and then the garbage is dumped on the floor, Wooten said. It is believed to be at this point in the process when the man was discovered.

Those loads are dumped by large machines - loaders - to industrial trailers a level below, she said. The trash is then tamped down by cranes, and the trailers take the compacted trash to the landfill, Wooten said.

Rumpke said an investigation is underway to determine why and how the man ended up in the trash truck.

“We are very thankful to the first responders that were on scene immediately and acted so swiftly,” said Rumpke area safety manager Randy Broadright. “Rumpke is fully committed to working with local authorities on the investigation.”

The man alleged that he was assaulted in Springfield, Keegan said. Police are working to determine if the man’s injuries were from the reported assault or if he was injured some other way, the sergeant added.

Keegan said the dump truck had collected trash from commercial Dumpsters in the Springfield area and had made its last pickup around 6:20 a.m. before coming to the Moraine facility.

The man’s discovery was made about 7 a.m. Keegan said officers responded to the Moraine facility around 7 a.m. after they received a report from workers at the building saying they found a man in a load of trash.

“A Rumpke truck dumped a load of trash and a gentleman came out with it,” a 911 caller told emergency dispatchers, describing the man as waving his hands but being trapped in the trash.

“It’s always good when something does go the right way,” Keegan said.

“We’ve had a couple of incidents in the past where it ended tragically….when somebody gets compacted in a trash truck. So (he’s) very fortunate….I’m not saying he had a good night. But it could have been a lot worse.”