SAN FRANCISCO -- A Recology truck driver was able to think quickly this morning to save the life of a man who was accidentally loaded into his recycling truck in San Francisco's Sunset District, Recology and fire officials said.
The driver started his route along Irving Street between 9th and 16th avenues around 6:30 a.m.
After he picked up a load of cardboard, he heard someone banging on the trailer of the truck, fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
The driver immediately drove a few blocks to San Francisco fire station No. 22 at 16th Avenue and Irving Street and got help.
Fire crews were able to extricate the 58-year-old man who had been sleeping in the recycling Dumpster, she said.
The man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with minor injuries from being crushed in the truck, she said.
Recology spokesman Robert Reed said the truck driver should be hailed as a hero for saving the man's life.
He said when the driver heard the man knocking on the wall inside of the truck it was "completely unexpected."
He said the driver called out to see if there was a person, and the man yelled back, prompting the driver to seek the closest help.
Reed called his quick thinking the "perfect" response.
The man was also fortunate that the cardboard recycling truck didn't crush him, Reed said.
Reed explained that the truck has a push wall that compacts the cardboard.
"It's a miracle that the guy wasn't crushed," he said.
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