Woman discovered in clothing donation bin has died
The circumstances that led to her being found in the bin are unknown at this time
The Ontario company that manufactures clothing donation boxes used by charities across Canada has stopped producing the metal bins involved in the death of a Toronto woman Tuesday while it works to design a safer model.
In the meantime, Hamilton-based Rangeview Fabricating Inc. is modifying existing containers to improve safety, company manager Brandon Agro said Tuesday.
Rangeview has been providing donation boxes for charities such as Diabetes Canada and B’nai Brith for 25 years without incident, Agro said. But with at least eight documented donation bin deaths in Canada since 2015, including the Toronto tragedy and the death of a Vancouver man Dec. 30, he said the company felt it was time to act
Toronto charities are scrambling to modify their boxes, while a city committee that oversees donation bin licensing is scheduled to dis- cuss safety measures at its meeting January 14.
Changes to current designs may require charities to sacrifice some anti-theft measures to protect vulnerable populations, said Agro.
The bins most commonly involved in deaths are mailbox-style designs with an internal flap preventing people from reaching inside, Agro said.
The designs feature metal bars that create a “pinch point” when activated, often by people trying to get into the boxes. Rangeview is advising charities to remove the bars until safer designs can be developed and built.
The bin where the Toronto woman died is owned by B’nai Brith Canada, which runs clothing donation boxes for its agency The League for Human Rights.
The non-profit has boxes at 19 locations across Toronto, according to the charity’s website.
Spokesperson Marty York wouldn’t confirm if all of their bins are manufactured by Rangeview, but said a safety retrofit will be “completed within the next few days.”
“We are saddened at this terrible and tragic incident. We are in direct communication with police on this matter,” he said in a statement to the Star.
Police have not released the name of the Toronto woman who died, pending notification of next of kin. But Patricia O’connell at Sistering identified her as Chrystal, a “lovely human being” who was well-known at the dropin, which serves women who are homeless and suffer mental health and addiction challenges.
“We’re all just devastated,” Mcconnell said. “People have known her for many years. She has been in the neighbourhood for a long time.”
Residents of the apartment tower at 730 Dovercourt Rd. where Chrystal was found dead say the area is often frequented by women from the drop- in who rummage through donation boxes in search of items.
“I will be for sure cautioning people not to go into those bins,” Mcconnell said.
A woman died Tuesday after she was found unconscious inside a clothing donation box behind an apartment complex at 730 Dovercourt Rd. Sistering identified her as Chrystal, a “lovely human being” well-known at the drop-in.