A man tries to retrieve items from a clothing donation bin in Vancouver, on Wednesday December 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Donation bin deaths prompt Canadian manufacturer to stop

Toronto-area company RangeView Fabricating will focus on modifying the existing containers

The manufacturer of clothing donation bins used by charities across Canada said Tuesday it has stopped producing the metal containers, which were involved in at least two recent deaths, while it works on coming up with safer designs.

RangeView Fabricating, a Toronto-area company that produces bins used by prominent charities such as Diabetes Canada and B’nai Brith, said it is now focused on modifying the existing containers to improve safety.

Manager Brandon Agro said that charities had not experienced problems with the bins for most of the 25 years Rangeview has been providing them. But with at least eight documented deaths in Canada since 2015, including the death of a woman in Toronto on Tuesday morning, Agro said the time had come for immediate action.

That action, involving modifications to current designs and an active search for new ones, may require charities to sacrifice some anti-theft measures and focus on protecting vulnerable populations, Agro said.

“We’re kind of saying to our charities, ‘you’re going to have to deal with the theft because public safety is number one,’” Agro said in a telephone interview. “If someone is going to go into your bin and take your product, that’s going to have to be how it is for now.”

Agro said the bins most commonly involved in deaths are mailbox-style designs with an internal flap preventing people from reaching inside.

He said the designs feature metal bars that create a “pinch point” when activated, often by people trying to get into the boxes.

Agro said Rangeview is advising charities to remove those bars for the time being until safer designs can be developed and built. While those bars do not exist on all styles of donation box, Agro said the company is focused on improving safety in all styles it produces.

He said mailbox-style bins were involved in two deaths that took place in as many weeks.

On Dec. 30, a 34-year-old man in West Vancouver died after becoming stuck inside a box manufactured by RangeView. His death prompted the municipality to seal donation bins and investigate safer options.

READ MORE: Body found in West Vancouver clothing donation bin

Tuesday’s death in Toronto played out in similar fashion, according to city Police Const. Genifferjit Sidhu.

She said officers were called to a downtown Toronto donation bin shortly after 1:30 a.m. when someone reported seeing a woman partially stuck inside the bin, also made by Rangeview.

Sidhu said fire services cut through the box in order to extract her, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. Sidhu said such deaths are especially horrific.

“Part of you gets stuck in there, say it be your neck or a fragile part of you,” she said. “That would be painful, and it would not be quick.”

Advocates for the homeless have been sounding alarms about the bins, going so far as to call them “death traps” for a vulnerable population.

Jeremy Hunka of Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver said homeless people often turn to the bins for clothing items or shelter without being aware of how dangerous they can be.

In addition to the five deaths in B.C, a 32-year-old man was discovered dead inside a donation box in Cambridge, Ont., last November and a man in his 20s died in a similar container in Calgary in July 2017.

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Get your tickets to the 7th annual Vertical & Vintages Wine Weekend

Hosted at the Apex Mountain Resort in partnership with the Naramata Bench Wineries Association

Princeton GSAR credited with saving life of lost snowmobiler

Princeton Ground Search and Rescue volunteers are being credited with saving a… Continue reading

Athlete of the Week: Landon Peterman

Landon Peterman is the Penticton Western News/Canadian Tire athlete of the week

Rotary Student of the Month: Robinson a proven leader

The Grade 12 Princess Margaret student is the club’s Student of the Month for January

Penticton Mustangs hockey wins gold

Peewee rec team wins Salmon Arm hockey tournament

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Similkameen Karaoke for Unist’ot’en Camp a huge success

A crowd met on Blind Creek reservation near Cawston sang their hearts out and raised $ for Unist’ot’en

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

Parents in this B.C. city can no longer opt kids out of class for personal beliefs

Change comes as part of ‘big overhaul’ of school district’s learning resources policy approved by board

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Good news: Peak flu season over in B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says that while peak season is over, rates remain high this time of year

B.C. university students dumpster dive to shed light on food waste

Eating only from dumpsters, the students hope to raise money for food banks in Northern Canada

B.C. woman posts to Facebook after she and nephew reported missing for days

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

Most Read