Two overnight workers say they were horrified after coming across a burning bus shelter in Berwick, N.S., early Wednesday morning.
They later learned homeless man Harley Lawrence, whose body was found by police, was inside.
The man and woman were driving in separate vehicles near the bus shelter where Lawrence died.
The two were interviewed by police the morning the 62-year-old died. The woman noticed something was amiss when she saw a fire truck.
“I got down almost to the Pharmasave, and I seen the bus shelter on fire,” she said.
She called the man immediately.
“There was like an orange glow, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on,” said the man. “Then I seen the fire here at the bus shelter.”
The two pulled over into the nearby Foodland parking lot.
“I seen the back wall of the shelter collapse as I drove around it,” said the man.
“The flames were about a foot and a half off the ground. Totally encompassing what was in there.”
The man said he didn’t want to believe what he was seeing. He kept asking if Lawrence was inside. After the firefighters doused the flames, he spoke to a police officer.
“The officer dropped his head and said yes.”
The man described the situation as utter horror. He said he had trouble sleeping after witnessing what happened.
“It was the worst thing anybody could ever imagine,” he said, still clearly distraught from the incident. “Just imagining what he must’ve went through.”
RCMP are still investigating the fire, and an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.