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When disaster strikes, Ottawa bus driver answers the call

Anna Sophia Vollmerhausen

, Last Updated: 8:34 PM ET

After a major fire broke out on Spadina Avenue at 3:45 a.m. on Wednesday, it may have been a surprise to see an OC Transpo bus in the midst of all the emergency services on scene.

The morning of the fire, André Bastien was there to temporarily shelter the 19 residents, as well as their pets.

Bastien has been with OC Transpo for 45 years. As an ‘extradriver, he’s usually the first one on call at 3:30 a.m. in case a bus breaks down or is running late.

Since a lot of fires break out early in the morning, he often gets called to the scene to provide shelter for both firefighters and people displaced by a fire.

“You gotta recognize (in) the middle of winter at -20, if it’s people or firefighters, they need a warm shelter,” Bastien said. 

Ottawa Fire Services frequently co-ordinates with OC Transpo to shelter those affected by a fire, said Danielle Cardinal, the public information officer for OFS.

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