The Olde Barracks on County Road 29 just outside Carleton Place were completely destroyed by fire late Monday afternoon.
Originally built as part of the federal government’s nuclear preparedness program during the height of the Cold War in the early 1960s, the complex had been abandoned for some time. There were no injuries in the fire.
Upon its completion in 1961, the facility contained a 6,000-square-foot below-ground fallout shelter. According to this report from the National Museum of Science and Technology:
“Because they were intended to house manning personnel for the duration of the two-week shock phase [following a nuclear attack], they had to be self-contained, reinforced against impact, and radiation proof. Hence, the walls were constructed of thick reinforced concrete. Each shelter had an operations and information display centre, work areas, a kitchen, dining room, dormitories, and a sickbay. Storage rooms contained food, equipment. and supplies to sustain eighty people for fourteen or fifteen days.”