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Elderly man rescued from Dumpster

An elderly man apparently hunting bottles and cans at the Delta Sonic car wash in Cheektowaga was discovered despondent in a Dumpster by an employee Thursday afternoon.

Confused and lapsing in and out of consciousness, the man was taken by Rural/Metro Medical Services to St. Joseph Hospital in Cheektowaga. His condition was not known late Thursday.

The victim, whose name was not available, was discovered about 4:30 p.m. by Brad Natalzia, a Delta Sonic gas pump maintenance employee. Employees there said Natalzia makes the rounds of area Delta Sonic outlets and happened to be at the 2285 Walden Ave. location.

"We normally do garbage about 1 to 2 p.m. and then I do it about 10:30 p.m.," said Mike Barrett, senior manager at the Delta Sonic. "Who knows if I'd have found him after it got dark?"

"You don't expect on a 6-degree day someone's going to be out in the Dumpster," he added.

Barrett said Natalzia was taking garbage bags to the Dumpster on the perimeter of the property when he heard a noise inside the container and noticed the man's arm.

Employees quickly called 911 and emergency officials instructed them not to move the man until help arrived. Cheektowaga police removed him from the Dumpster

Also unknown is how long the man was in the trash container.

Employees said they had seen the man -- often referred to as "Dumpster Dan" -- at the business before. Employees had asked the man to stay away from the Dumpsters previously, said Barrett.

Shortly after noon, employees noticed a car left idling in the parking lot, not far from the Dumpster. The car, it was learned later, belonged to the man.

"It's a little disturbing," Barrett said. "If no one would have found him, he could have died."

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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