A Springfield man saved from a trash pile at a solid waste facility that crushes garbage said he was set on fire before being tossed in a Dumpster.
But authorities said Damien Pollock did not have any burns – and was lucky to be alive - after he was found Tuesday morning buried in refuse at the Montgomery County Solid Waste District transfer station in Moraine, where industrial machines compact trash to send to landfills.
Pollock, 28, told authorities he had been assaulted in Springfield by a group of about 12 people, who “caught him on fire and dumped him into a Dumpster,” Moraine police records show.
Springfield police said Wednesday they have opened a criminal investigation into the Dumpster incident.
After being put in the Dumpster, Pollock said he could hear what he thought was the cocking of a revolver, according to Moraine police records.
“Pollock said they were going to kill him if it wasn’t for the Dumpster,” according to the police report.
Pollock did not have any burns, but did have scrapes, cuts and possible internal injuries, according to police. However, it was not clear if it was from the reported assault or from being compacted in the trash.
Pollock was taken to Kettering Hospital, according to police and Rumpke, which emptied the Springfield Dumpster and delivered its load to the Moraine waste site.
A hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday the facility did not have a patient listed under the last name of Pollock, who was described by his former fiancé as “a gentle giant.”
Pollock said he has a history of drug use, but had not used any for several days, police records show. His drug use was the reason Springfield resident Kacie Boring said she ended plans to marry Pollock.
“There was nothing bad that I could say about him,” Boring said. “He was amazing. He was a great guy. He didn’t deserve this. He did not deserve to go through what he went through.”
Boring said it surprised her to hear Pollock found himself in the confrontation he described to police.
“He never looked for trouble,” she said. “He was never that kind of person….He was just a gentle giant, a teddy bear – you know?”
Moraine police said Wednesday they are done investigating how Pollock ended up at the Montgomery County facility.
Any further probe would be handled by Springfield police, according to Moraine Sgt. Michael Keegan. Springfield police have declined to comment on their investigation.
Rumpke issued a statement on Tuesday indicating an investigation is underway to determine why and how the man ended up in the trash truck.
The company spokesperson said Wednesday Rumpke does not have details of the investigation at this time.
Pollock was fortunate to survive the ordeal that ended at the Moraine facility, where authorities said a front loader was working to move the dumped trash toward a compacting area when the discovery was made.
Montgomery County Communications Director Brianna Wooten said Tuesday Pollock was “lucky to be found alive.”
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.
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