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PREPARING FOR THE WORST

Bruce Beach has buried 42 school buses underground near his home in a rural Ontario hamlet in anticipation of the worst disaster mankind has ever seen.

Beach is an experienced bomb-shelter builder and a self-professed doomsayer with an inkling that his moment of truth is finally looming. It may not be Jan. 1, 2000, but it may not be too much later, either.

With help from his son-in-law and three hired handymen the buses have been knitted together in an underground steel labyrinth. He's working on his bunker late into December because the weather is unseasonably warm and time is running out.

The moment he's waited a lifetime for could be just days away.

"Prepare for the worst, hope for the best and expect something in between," is his Y2K motto.

With sleeping rotations, Beach believes he can shelter nearly 500 people. The facility includes air intakes, a nursery, a dentist's chair, a decontamination area and a sound-proof room for people who may have a breakdown.

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