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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Binmen save homeless man from crush death

Emma Jane Hade

Published 22/02/2014 | 02:30

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Hero binmen Fintan Reilly, Jonathan Greene and Daniel McMahon
Hero binmen Fintan Reilly, Jonathan Greene and Daniel McMahon

Three heroic binmen have spoken of their relief after they rescued a homeless man who was just seconds from being crushed to death in their lorry.

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Fintan Reilly, along with his colleagues Jonathan Greene and Daniel McMahon, were shocked to discover a homeless man among the piles of rubbish in their truck.

The man – known only as Paschal – was sleeping in one of the recycling bins at the flats in Hardwick Street in Dublin city centre and narrowly escaped being crushed to death after the bin was emptied into the truck.

Only for the quick thinking of Fintan Reilly, who lifted the bin up, he would have faced a certain death from the compactor machine inside the lorry.

"As it goes up, it automatically starts compacting. I just heard a voice screaming 'help', help, stop please'," Mr Reilly explained.

He said that he immediately pressed the emergency stop button and alerted his colleagues who contacted the emergency services.

"I stayed with him the whole time and I asked was he breathing. He just said 'I'm fine', he was probably scared.

"We waited for the gardai and when they arrived, we opened the back of it," Fintan said. "He just wanted to be on his way, he was just happy to be out."

The man, understood to be in his 40s, was anxious to retrieve a folder that he was carrying, and the operators of the Greyhound Recycling lorry were able to do so.

The homeless man then refused to be treated by the emergency services and left the scene quickly.

Mr Reilly said that although he and his colleagues were in shock, they were happy to have reacted in the manner that they did.

The humble heroes said that they had never faced a situation like this before, and "hopefully never again".

But last August, Polish man Henryk Piotrawski was found dead by staff at the Panda recycling plant as they unloaded waste from a truck.

Greyhound Recycling said yesterday's incident had become an increasingly worrying trend in recent times.

Michael Buckley, chief executive of Greyhound Waste, said the quick reaction from his workers had undoubtedly saved a life. "An increasing number of people are putting their lives in at risk by using large bins as a source of shelter and heat.

"I am calling on the main waste management companies to agree safety-check protocols on the collection of large bins," Mr Buckley said.

Pat Doyle, chief executive of the Fr Peter McVerry Trust, described the incident as "distressing".

Irish Independent

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