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An eccentric inventor built a giant fallout shelter from 42 school buses to help rebuild America after a nuclear war.
Bruce Beach built his “Ark 2” structure in the Canadian village of Horning's Mills, near Ontario — but now the future of the “indestructible” shelter is in doubt.
Bruce didn’t charge for a place in the vast 10,000 sq ft shelter, asking instead that people helped build it in exchange for a share in the project.
He said that too many doomsday peppers that he had spoken to were focused on their own survival, and didn’t seem to care about the future of society.
The primary purpose of his shelter, Bruce said, to serve as an "underground orphanage, a place where a new generation could be saved from nuclear apocalypse”.
The former computer science teacher said that a full nuclear exchange would wipe out over 80% of the world's population, and the only way to rebuild civilisation would be to preserve the next generation.
"We're going to say to people: 'Well, we have room for your children, but we don't have room for you.' That's the nature of life,” he said.
“This is the lifeboat."
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Bruce began the project in the dark days of the Cold War, when a nuclear exchange between the USA and the Soviet Union seemed almost inevitable.
He spent about six years buying up old school buses, stripping them down and then burying them in land owned by his second wife, Jean.
He eventually buried over 40 buses, pouring concrete over them to create a structure that would withstand anything, he said, except “ a direct nuclear hit”.
It’s not clear how much the project cost, or how Bruce paid for it all. He managed to get some of the work done by bartering with electricians, craftsmen and other tradesmen in exchange for a place in the shelter when World War Three eventually broke out.
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“Bruce’s vision of the Ark was for it to be a refuge for people to go when there is a nuclear war,” Bruce’s biographer Paul Kell told Global News.
“He envisioned it as an orphanage that would be populated mostly with children, so they would be the future after nuclear war.”
Bruce had frequent arguments with local politicians and firefighters over concerns that the bunker was not safe for use
“The fire chief of the day would go out there and weld it shut,” local Mayor Darren White said.
“And he wasn’t even out the driveway when Bruce would be up there cutting the weld off.”
Bruce had even wilder dreams, inventing a unique “Angel” language that he thought people should use in the post-apocalyptic landscape after emerging from their shelters.
“When you dream as big as Bruce and you’re one man with almost no resources and very limited help, it’s almost impossible to ever realise those dreams,” Paul Kell said. “Bruce would’ve needed to live to 120 to accomplish everything that he had planned out.”
Sadly, Bruce died of a heart attack on May 10, 2021. He was buried near his sprawling shelter. But what happens to “Ark 2” without its guiding light is unclear.
Bahia Eldner, Bruce’s daughter, says it will be difficult to maintain the structure, or to sell the land without paying for an expensive demolition job.
“Who knows what’s going to happen with the shelter now?” she said.
- World War 3
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