A Denver man is in critical condition after falling into a trash chute at a downtown apartment building and being crushed by the compactor for a couple of minutes before help arrived.

Scott Walsh

Scott Walsh, 22, was with a female friend Friday evening in an apartment building near Union Station when her phone fell down the trash chute on the building’s first floor, Walsh’s friend Matt Johnson said. While Walsh peered into the chute, he lost his balance and fell about 15 feet to the trash compactor beneath, Johnson said.

Johnson was leaving work at nearby Pizza Pedal’r when the female friend, whom he also knew, ran through the parking garage beneath the apartment yelling for someone to call 911. The compactor had started to operate while Walsh was inside, and the two could hear him screaming in pain.

Johnson, who also lives in the building, called 911 about 1 a.m. Saturday, and police and firefighters arrived within minutes, he said. He watched as the emergency responders took apart the machine to retrieve Walsh and whisk him away in an ambulance.

“When they brought him out he was still conscious,” Johnson said. “He kept saying that his leg was broken but he didn’t know how bad it really was.”

The compactor broke both of Walsh’s legs, cracked his skull on both sides and ruptured arteries in his neck, his friend Liz DiSalvo said. He’s been heavily sedated but is expected to survive, she said.

Denver police responded to the apartment complex and didn’t find anything suspicious about the incident, spokesman Sonny Jackson said.

The company that manages the apartment was aware of the accident and working with authorities, said Jami Pichot, vice president of operations for Griffis Residential. She said that the safety of the apartments’ residents and guests was important but did not respond to specific questions emailed to her Monday afternoon or return a phone call Tuesday morning.

Griffis Residential manages eight apartment facilities in the Denver metro area and three elsewhere in Colorado. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment at the location where Walsh was injured, Griffis Union Station, starts at $1,449.

Walsh’s friends have started an online fundraiser to help pay for his medical bills.

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