Updated at 5:50 p.m.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
A 56-year-old man is hospitalized with a broken neck after falling from next to his truck into the large container where he was unloading at the Lewis County garbage transfer station in Centralia yesterday.
The man was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe concussion and possibly other broken bones, according to Riverside Fire Authority.
Nobody saw him fall in or knew he was down there until someone heard his calls for help, according to authorities.
Firefighters and medics called about noon to the 1400 block of South Tower Avenue helped him up the ladder after he regained consciousness and transported him to Providence Centralia Hospital, Firefighter-Paramedic Jennifer Ternan said. He was transferred to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, she said.
It appeared from reviewing security video there were three customers dropping off debris at the same time and it was less than three minutes before a man in the vehicle adjacent heard the injured man, according to Paulette Young, the county risk manager who was summoned to the scene.
The container, about the size of an open-topped semi truck trailer, was about half full of trash and debris, according to Ternan. The man fell 10 to 12 feet, Ternan said.
The situation could have been far worse given the various materials piled up inside.
“He lucked out,” she said. “It was (still) a long fall, and he fell right on his head.”
CORRECTION: This news item has been updated to correctly reflect the manner in which the discovery of the accident victim was made.