donation bin

Video shows woman climbing into donation bin a day after Toronto death

Less than 24 hours after a Toronto woman died inside a clothing donation bin, another person was spotted breaking into one across the city, highlighting a dangerous design flaw that has now claimed the lives of eight people in Canada since 2015.

One Toronto citizen recorded this self-shot footage of a woman wrestling to remove bags from a blue donation bin near King and Strachan at around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night.

The woman can be heard screaming at points throughout the video, attracting the attention of bystanders. At one point, she puts an entire leg inside the deposit vestibule to hold it down while pulling on items. Later, she uses a long stick to complete the job instead.

The woman emerged safely from the incident, but not all people who've attempted to access donation boxes have been so lucky.

A 35-year-old woman just died in Toronto's Bloorcourt Village after getting trapped in a clothing donation box behind a building near Bloor and Dovercourt.

Police say witnesses heard the woman screaming for help around 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning and that half her body was sticking out of the box when emergency crews arrived. The woman was without vital signs when firefighters managed to extricate her from the bin, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The death is not considered suspicious, according to police, but advocates for people experiencing homelessness say it could have been prevented.

"They have inadvertently become death traps," said Vancouver mission worker Jeremy Hunka of the boxes last week after a 34-year-old B.C. man died in similar fashion. "It boggles my mind that they're still in operation."

The woman who lost her life in Toronto early Tuesday morning is the eighth person to have died in a "mailbox-style" donation bin since 2015 across Canada.

Hunka says that homeless people often turn to such bins for clothing or even shelter without knowing about their potentially deadly anti-theft features (metal bars that create a "pinch point" when activated, essentially).

"Part of you gets stuck in there, say it be your neck or a fragile part of you," said Toronto Police Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu to the Canadian Press of the Tuesday morning incident. "That would be painful, and it would not be quick."

In light of this week's tragic death, Toronto Mayor John Tory says he has asked staff to review the city's donation boxes and the rules surrounding them.

"I think it is extremely important, in light of what's happened now, that we should examine the safety implications of these boxes" he said to reporters on Tuesday.

"They're set up in a way to make it difficult to have access to the box, to the inside of the box, but obviously not safe enough."

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