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Missouri homeless man nearly crushed in trash truck

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A homeless man sleeping in a dumpster behind a Kansas City shopping center was picked up by a trash truck and nearly crushed in the compactor before his cries for help alerted the driver, officials said on Thursday.

Rescue workers needed about an hour to dig through several feet of cardboard and other recycling materials that covered the man, said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Toone of Grandview, Missouri, whose response team helped free him on Thursday morning.

The fire department got the call at 2:15 a.m., Toone said.

"He was asleep when the truck picked him up and he fell into the back of the truck," Toone said. "The driver heard some banging and screaming and stopped to check on it. He's glad he did."

The man suffered injuries to his lower body, including broken bones in both his legs, Toone said. Officials did not release the man's name, but said he was 51 years old.

(Reporting By Carey Gillam; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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