At first they didn't believe it.
"We didn't know what it was," Burlington Fire Captain Andy Connerty said.
It was early in the morning last month, and a 911 call came in from a man saying he was trapped in the back of a trash truck.
"He was in the trash truck and had been compacted at least once," Connerty said.
According to police, the man's call dropped though, and they couldn't get back in touch with him. Police then started pinging the man's phone, tracking the trash truck as officers tried to track the truck down.
Officers were eventually able to find it in a Burlington, Massachusetts shopping center. Officers calling for paramedics and firefighters as they tried to reach the man.
"When we got there the driver of the dump truck, the trash truck, was hopping down from the top of the truck and I said, what?" Burlington Fire Lt. Todd Ficociello said. "He was really covered with cardboard, they saw a piece of cardboard move, and they said, oh there is a guy in there."
Firefighters used a ladder to climb up the truck, another to climb down into it, where they were able to barely see the man.
"When we first got up there all we could really see was one of his hands, so we jumped in there and started digging and digging and digging," firefighter Justin Kane said. "It was cold, it was rainy, it was snowy, it was tough."
Firefighters were able to eventually reach the man, loading him into a basket, and gently lifting him out of the trash truck.
They say he had several broken bones and was rushed to the hospital.
"If he didn't get that first call out, they would have never found him," he said.
According to the fire department, the man spent several weeks in the hospital and is now in a rehab hospital.
"Honestly we looked at each other a few times and were like, what is going on here," Kane said. "Definitely some stuff you didn't learn in school some stuff you didn't learn at the fire academy but it worked and it got him out, so, got the job done."