A 35-year-old woman is dead after she was found unconscious inside a clothing donation box early Tuesday morning.
Paramedics confirmed that they had been called to the area of Dovercourt Rd. and Bloor St. W. shortly after 1:30 a.m.
Police spokesperson Jenifferjit Sidhu said Toronto Fire rushed to the scene and cut the donation box open to rescue the woman. Paramedics attempted CPR, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene sometime later.
The circumstances that led to her being inside the donation box are unknown at this time. Her name hasn’t been released, as police are still trying to notify her next of kin.
Only a week ago in Vancouver, a similar tragedy occurred when a 34-year-old man became trapped in a clothing donation bin and died.
There have been at least eight Canadian donation-bin deaths across the country since 2015, including five in B.C. This is believed to be the first death in Ontario.
The rash of deaths prompted the municipality of West Vancouver to seal clothing bins and investigate safer options for accepting donations.
Activists who work with those struggling with poverty say the bins can provide a dangerous temptation for people living on the streets, particularly in the winter.
The death of the man in Vancouver prompted an advocate to call for the “death traps” to be immediately fixed or removed.
The donation boxes are often equipped with spring-loaded doors to prevent animals from climbing in. But tragically, people can become trapped in the opening as well.
Prof. Ray Taheri of the school of engineering at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus said the death of a B.C. woman in a bin last July prompted him to get his students working on ways to retrofit the bins.
He said removing up to 2,000 bins just in British Columbia would cost too much money, so the best solution would be to change their design as quickly as possible using the ideas his students have come up with.
With files from Jack Hauen and The Canadian Press
Alexandra Jones is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @AlexandraMaeJ