Storm Shelters Are Not Regulated In Oklahoma - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Storm Shelters Are Not Regulated In Oklahoma

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News 9 discovered this fact while researching numerous reports of storm shelters literally popping out of the ground with all the recent rain. News 9 discovered this fact while researching numerous reports of storm shelters literally popping out of the ground with all the recent rain.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

No agency regulates storm shelters in Oklahoma. That may seem shocking considering in Oklahoma City alone, the city has processed 15,055 permits since January 1, 2013.

News 9 discovered this fact while researching numerous reports of storm shelters literally popping out of the ground with all the recent rain.

It turns out, there is no oversight.

“It just went like a cork,” said Moore resident Eleanor Connelly.

The 77-year-old was shocked her in-ground storm shelter became an above-ground one on May 6th.

5/13/15 Related Story: Metro Couple Says Storm Shelter Was Installed Incorrectly

“It was just setting there, there is no nothing, no straps, no weights, no nothing,” she exclaimed.

Connelly had the fiberglass shelter installed in April of 2014.

She and her 88-year-old roommate, Claude, had just come out of it during the May 6th storms and when the sirens sounded again, they decided not to go back that time and take a chance inside the house.

About 15 minutes later, the shelter was out of the ground.

“Scares you to death,” Connelly told News 9. “Thank the Lord that He didn't let us go back out there, because if we'd been in it, we would have been drowned I'm sure,” Connelly added.

Connelly paid $4,123 for her shelter and it was installed improperly. She found out the hard way that no agency regulates storm shelters in Oklahoma.

Engineers typically sign off on the integrity of the structure before installation, but no one actually inspects the quality of the installation. It is up to each shelter company to do it correctly.

“I told Claude we'd probably been the second and third casualty of that storm,” Connelly explained.

In Connelly's case, the specifications said steel pipes and three yards of concrete are needed to offset any buoyancy.

None of that was used.

“I thought I had a storm cellar that would help us, but it almost did us in instead,” she added.

Connelly said the same shelter company has offered to replace her shelter with a brand new one and to install it properly this time.

Many cities have inspectors that drive by and make sure a storm shelter is installed in the right location and not in a right-of-way.

However, those inspectors never leave their vehicles.

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