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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police investigating chop-shop found in Beacon Hill Park

Police asking public to register bikes with them in case lost or stolen

Island Health issues Victoria overdose advisory

Health authority warns of increase in overdoses from opioids and stimulants

Residents welcomed to The Summit in Victoria’s Quadra Village

Modern 320-bed facility designed for people with complex care needs including dementia

Victoria considers extending free transit passes for youth

Motion for extension of funding comes to council July 16

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read