A “Doomsday Prepper” Finally Allows Access Into the Shelter He Created With 42 School Buses
Have you ever heard of a secret underground facility made out of old school buses? There is actually one located deep under the Canadian countryside. It’s made up of 42 old school buses buried under 14 feet of soil and 18 inches of concrete.
The person behind this unique creation is a retired computer science professor named Bruce Beach. He built this facility with the hope that it would never have to be used. But, just in case the world decides to unleash a zombie apocalypse, survivors can live inside a network of underground tunnels and rooms made out of repurposed school buses.
Better Prepared Than Sorry
Before Bruce Beach passed in 2021, he was a serious “prepper,” a person who takes action in case of a major emergency that could threaten the survival of civilization. Hailing from Horning’s Mills, Ontario, Beach always had in mind the survival of the human race.
He went to great lengths to make sure that in case of worst-case scenarios, humanity would have a chance to survive. He was always thinking ahead to ensure that there was a plan B in case something went wrong. Such a mindset led him to build the underground facility out of old school buses.
Hiding From A Worldwide Crisis
Apparently, it was the Cuban Missile Crisis that had a heavy impression on the then-young Bruce. It was a pretty intense time back in the day. It was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war at that time. Tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union had been building up for a while, and they finally came to a head in 1962.
The thought of a nuclear war was all too real for Bruce Beach. So, as a young man, he decided to become a prepper. He didn’t want to be caught unprepared–thus, his need to build a hidden facility and give humanity a good chance to survive.
Discovery Of A Lethal Missile
Everyone’s fears escalated when it was discovered that the Soviet Union had placed missiles in Cuba. The United States treated the find as a huge threat. The whole world was holding its breath, wondering if it was the end.
Fortunately, the situation was eventually defused, but the threat of nuclear war was always looming during the entirety of the Cold War–for almost 30 more years. It’s a reminder of the value of being prepared for the worst-case scenario.
Though the Cuban Missile Crisis ended, the fear of nuclear war never really went away. Fast forward to the 1980s, and it was like déjà vu all over again. The Soviet Union was worried that the U.S. might launch a pre-emptive strike on them, and President Ronald Reagan was questioning if these fears were all an act.
It was a tense time as people worried that the threat of nuclear war was back on the table. People like Bruce Beach didn’t want to be one of the many who were not prepared. He felt he had to take action.
Able Archer 83 Made The Threat A Real Possibility
When a military exercise called Able Archer 83 took place in 1983, it was only done to simulate the start of a nuclear war. However, the Soviets suspected that the United States might actually be planning a real attack.
If it had gone differently, the world could have been changed forever. It’s nerve-wracking to think that even a military exercise intended to prevent a war can almost trigger one. It also shows how delicate the situation was back then and how important it was for countries’ communication channels to be open in order to avoid a catastrophic outcome.
Another World War
The Soviets were on high alert and had prepared their weapons just in case the Able Archer 83 drill turned out to be a real attack. Thankfully, the exercise ended before any retaliation could happen, but it’s still considered one of the closest calls the world has ever had.
Bruce Beach had probably decided enough was enough. He no longer wanted to wait for the worst. Worldwide situations such as this were more than enough to prompt him to perform preventative measures to protect not just himself but other people too.
Unable To Halt A Threat
Though it would be years before the public found out the details of the Able Archer 83, people were still living in fear, no thanks to the media. Details of possible nuclear attacks were being hyped up, making people realize the inevitability of impending doom.
Having to live in constant fear, not knowing if you’re going to wake up the next day or not, was a stress Beach didn’t want to experience. The doomsday news was a reminder of how media can shape public perception. It also served as the catalyst for someone like Beach to have a ready plan in case of worst-case scenarios.
Creating The Facility
The constant threat of nuclear war looming over everyone’s head was enough for Beach to do something other than cower in fear. He did not sit around and wait for fate to take its course. Instead, Bruce Beach started to work.
He began building an underground bunker that would be able to house around 500 people in case of a global catastrophe. He took matters into his own hands as doing so gave him a sense of control and peace of mind.
The World’s Biggest Bunker
While some only make a plan for when a global catastrophe strikes, Bruce Beach actually put that plan into action. His self-created underground bunker was truly different compared to the shelters other people were building in their backyards.
He went all out as he built one of the largest privately built nuclear shelters on the planet. Remarkably, he accomplished it all on his own. It’s a testament to his determination and resourcefulness.
Safe From Nuclear War
The bunker is located on a beach property and is pretty impressive. Measuring in at a massive 10,000 square feet–the bunker is built to be able to withstand nuclear fallout. Therefore, if anything were to happen above ground, the people inside would be safe and sound.
Since it was designed by a prepper, trust that it’s built to withstand pretty much anything. Imagine the piece of mind, knowing that you’ll be protected from any potential disasters.
In The Beginning, Four Bunkers
Construction started back in the early 80s when the first four old school buses were brought to the site. After about five years, the work was completed. A total of 42 school buses were used and then covered in a thick layer of concrete.
Bruce was not afraid to use unique things to create shelters. He was as resourceful as he could possibly be. The foresight to use school buses as the base was made to utilize readily available materials. They are also functional and 100% safe.
But why would the bunker’s foundation be made out of former school buses? The answer lies in what makes up the inside of school buses. Since these vehicles are built with reinforced steel roofs, they are perfect for resisting any impact that may come from above.
Plus, Bruce was able to purchase them for just around $300 each. We believe that’s a pretty good deal. We are also amazed at the bunker’s durability besides its cost-effectiveness. It is amazing that people can come up with unique solutions with limited resources.
Inside The Bunker
What does it look like inside a bunker that was built to withstand a nuclear blast? Beach’s bunker, which used school buses as a foundation and was covered with a thick layer of concrete, is said to have the unique ability to withstand a nuclear blast.
Fortunately, it has not yet been put to the test as it’s been sitting empty beneath his land ever since. Still, a whole underground world that is protected from any above-ground dangers leaves one feeling relief that there is a place to go to in order to survive any catastrophic event.
Everything Is Available Down Under
Currently, the bunker is protected by several locked gates. Though it is not easy for anyone to get in, anyone will be pleasantly surprised when they find out what’s inside. The bunker has an area designated for firearm storage.
People who have been inside said the complex isn’t exactly in the best condition as it is damp and has bad lighting. But despite that, Beach maintains that the bunker has everything that survivors might need.
The Comforts Of A Bunker Home
Beach’s creation has been described as having “all the comforts of home.” Though it is true to some extent, the bunker is actually more advanced than your average house. For instance, it has two kitchens.
It also has its very own chapel. Since the threat of a nuclear war may be possible, the bunker also has a decontamination room. This is crucial if anyone ever needs to use the bunker and then go back to the outside world. Essentially, it is more than your average home because it’s a high-tech shelter built to keep its inhabitants safe in an emergency.
Prepared For Anything And Everything
Beach also made sure that his self-made bunker was not your average shelter. It has been thoughtfully designed with all sorts of contingencies in mind. For example, Beach included some less cheerful features, such as a mortuary.
It even has a special chair for dental treatments. It also has a “brig,” which is a fancy word for a prison. Though it sounds quite serious, do note that this bunker is meant to keep people safe in case of an emergency. Having a designated area for keeping folks secure is, therefore, a necessity. Chess sets are also available, so people have something to do to pass the time.
Back To The Past
Though Beach made sure his bunker was capable of handling technological necessities, it now mixes new machinery along with the old. A few of its parts are pretty high-tech, while others are quite low-tech.
One of the rooms in the bunker actually has an old bicycle set up. Its purpose is for residents to grind wheat via bike pedal. There’s another room with security monitors, which gives bunker residents an overview of the complex. But instead of sleek, fancy monitors, old Commodore 64 computers were used.
Electricity Is Available
Beach also created a working phone system in the bunker. Instead of the typical touch-tone phone or smartphone, an old-fashioned rotary dial phone was installed. It’s definitely a blast from the past.
Even though some parts of the bunker might be a bit dated, everything is still fully functional. The bunker also has a generator set up for a nuclear emergency to ensure the availability of power supply for the survivors.
Barter System Using Toilet Paper
Beach made sure everything was properly accounted for in his bunker, even the sanitation system. He also did not forget a basic human need – toilet paper. However, the prepper’s not planning on using it for its intended purpose.
Beach told a newspaper that it’s actually for bartering. This prepper made sure he crossed his t’s and dotted his i’s as he considered the possibility of a future where toilet paper becomes a valuable commodity.
Food And Water
Beach’s goal was to provide survivors living in the bunker with a functional living environment for up to three months. He believed this was the length of time it takes for any fallout to dissipate. He then set up everything humans would need throughout that time.
The bunker has plenty of diesel to keep the lights on. It also provides the inhabitants with drinking water. Though it is not a vacation destination, it’s definitely equipped to keep people safe and alive during a crisis.
Stocked With Sustenance
Beach wanted to make sure survivors who stayed in the bunker had enough food during the long months that they may need to spend underground. But keeping all the supplies fresh and replenished is no easy feat.
The prepper himself even mentioned in an interview that over the years, he’s had to throw out a lot of food. It’s not an easy job to keep track of expiration dates, making sure that all the supplies stay fresh. But that is the price you have to pay when you’re preparing for the worst.
The bunker, also known as Ark Two, was built to have the ability to communicate with the outside world. If anyone else survives a nuclear attack, this bunker would be able to communicate with them.
It’s also designed to launch a weather balloon to check on the conditions outside. It also has radio equipment that can broadcast messages across North America. It can be likened to a little underground city. Survival also means being able to stay connected and informed even in the worst of situations.
Though some people have criticized Bruce by calling him a doomsayer, he dismisses these unfounded opinions. He believes that preparing for the worst is the same as doing what it takes for the greater good of society.
He believes that his project is a service to his community. It’s not just about saving a few people–it’s about creating a way for civilization to rebuild after a nuclear catastrophe. He is out to save not just himself but humanity.
Children Are Our Future
One thing that sets Bruce’s bunker apart from other shelters is the fact that it was designed with the idea that in the event of an emergency, many of the people using it would be children, even if that means that their parents have to stay above ground.
The prepper mentioned it himself in an interview as he emphasized that he would be willing to take in children and provide them with a safe place to stay, even if their parents could not join them. His goal was to provide a safe haven for the future generation, even though it meant having to make hard choices.
Beach’s intent was not just to make a bunker. He also wanted to build a community. So, when he was alive, he invited everyone to help with the maintenance of the shelter and take part in its various activities.
He welcomed anyone who was interested, regardless of their religious, cultural, or political beliefs. It’s a smart idea in a crisis situation. Having a group of people working together, who come from different backgrounds, can bring in different perspectives, skills, and ideas to help the community to function better.
Beach always thought ahead and believed that in case of a nuclear war, as much as 80 percent of people on earth could be destroyed. That’s a pretty sobering thought. But it also means that the survivors would have a huge responsibility to restore human society.
Thus, Bruce has taken it upon himself to bear the responsibility of restoring the world after nuclear annihilation. In his mind, the bunker isn’t just a place to wait out a disaster–it’s a starting point for rebuilding a new kind of civilization.
Few People Wanted To Join
Since Beach prepared for everything that might happen in a disaster, he did not expect a low turnout of people interested in being part of his community. However, despite his inclusive approach, it was difficult for him to get people to commit and take the idea seriously.
Even when he was hosting regular workdays at the bunker, most people would only come once and never return. Even in 2017, only 50 regular community members were on the invite list. It’s not that people didn’t see the value in the idea, but it’s a big commitment to make.
Beach’s Family Was Not Interested
Beach had to admit that getting people on board with his vision would be tough. In an interview with National Post back in 2017, he said that he probably would have trouble getting people to come in as his own family, including his wife and children, lost interest in his talk about impending nuclear war.
It takes a lot of dedication and even frustration to complete work you’re passionate about, only for it to be dismissed by naysayers and even people you love. But in the end, he hoped his tremendous efforts would be vindicated, and the world would see the value in what he was doing.
Who Will Be Left Behind?
Unfortunately, Beach passed away without leaving any instructions on what should happen to the bunker after his passing. But some members of the community are still passionate about the project and want to be a part of it.
Beach had a very clear vision of what his underground society would entail. He had put a lot of thought and planning into it. It’s not clear what the future holds for the bunker, but it’s possible that if Beach’s family allows it, and if a nuclear disaster does occur, the bunker will continue to provide shelter and safety to those in need.
Beach had a very specific idea of how society would function in the bunker. He didn’t envision it as a democratic society. Instead, he imagined that a commander would be appointed as the one responsible for making crucial decisions.
Additionally, he also had specific tasks assigned to each member of the crew. He even allocated bunks based on age and gender. In a crisis situation, Bruce knew the value of quick decision-making and clear roles and responsibilities in order for a society to function smoothly.
16 Hours Of Work Each Day
Beach even had a very specific plan for how life would be in the bunker. According to his vision, adult residents would be expected to work for 16 hours a day. It’s a lot, and it may not sound very appealing, but Beach had a reason for it.
He explained on his website that the bunker is a “lifeboat” and not a “luxury cruise liner.” In other words, it’s not a place for relaxation and leisure, it’s a place for survival, and everyone would have to contribute to that goal.
While some people considered the bunker and its builder as mere eccentricities, the authorities were taking Beach seriously, albeit a tad too much. As a result, Bruce occasionally found himself in conflicts with governmental institutions.
In the year 2000, the fire department declared the bunker unsafe and ordered its closure. Despite Beach’s efforts, it’s not always clear if the structure meets safety regulations. It’s understandable that the fire department wants to ensure the safety of the people who might be using it in case of an emergency.
A Health Hazard
Though Beach had assured authorities that he had already made the necessary changes after the first time the fire department declared it unsafe, they were not convinced. In 2015, the authorities approached him with similar concerns.
Despite the authorities’ worries, it hasn’t stopped various explorers from being interested in taking a look inside the bunker. It’s an interesting structure, and people can’t help but be curious about it.
An Underground Tour
Many people started to become curious about the bunker. Thus, in July 2019, a tour of the underground shelter was made available on YouTube. The video featured Bruce Beach giving the host of the YouTube channel, Exploring with Angelo an exclusive look at his creation.
The film was twenty minutes in length and provided a comprehensive exploration of the entire underground complex. Though the structure was starting to show signs of wear and tear due to age, it was still very much equipped with the proper gear to allow anyone to survive nuclear fallout.
All Bases Are Covered
The video also featured Bruce explaining the intricacies of the structure he built. He made sure to point out the little-known detail of how the entrance of the shelter is set at a right angle within the rest of the shelter’s structure.
He explained how radiation only travels in a straight line. Therefore, such radioactive energy will be unable to make a turn and enter the bunker. Though the shelter seems safe from nuclear fallout, it is evidently not safe from junk and clutter which has collected inside the bunker.
More Supplies Are Needed
As the video continues, Beach explains to the two explorers the areas available for survivors. Plenty of old homemade newspapers can be seen as well as expired supplies. Furniture was also evidently piling up around the shelter.
Despite Beach’s efforts to be adequately prepared, some areas were woefully lacking in basic necessities. For instance, the nursery and the library did not have necessary items such as toys and books.
The filmmakers and producers of the video couldn’t help but inquire to Beach about his detailed plans after people survive a nuclear fallout. They wanted to know his specific plans for building society back again.
Beach explained that he would train survivors about LERN or Local Economy Recovery Networks. It is where 150 individuals aged 15 and above would make up different societal functions such as the administration, legislation, and the judiciary.
The End Of The World Is Coming Soon
Beach was convinced that the world would end sooner than many would expect. However, he passed away before the world did. This leaves the bunker’s future in limbo. A few of Bruce’s followers believe he would want the bunker properly maintained.
They also want to see it be usable during an emergency. In honor of Beach’s efforts, his family buried him near his self-made bunker. Though gone, his spirit may be keeping a very close eye on his beloved creation.