Storm Shelters Installed By Same Company Float Up From Underground In Catoosa
CATOOSA, Oklahoma - A Catoosa man finally has a safe place to go during severe weather after not one, but two of his storm shelters floated up from the ground.
One of the shelters was anchored down by ropes. Experts said it was not FEMA compliant in the way it was built or installed, and that if it had been used during tornado season, someone could have died.
Larry Gougler bought two shelters - one for his business and the other for his house. Both of them, he said, floated up within 30 days of being put in the ground.
“I called probably a couple hundred times and didn't get an answer. I assumed he went out of business,” Gougler said.
The shelters came from Common Ground Storm Shelters - the company has an F rating through the Better Business Bureau, but when Gougler bought them the business was new.
Gougler said the owner told him he was just getting started and seemed like a nice guy.
Jason Birdsong owns Survivor Shelters - a FEMA-compliant company that's been in business nearly a decade.
“It's not just go out and dig a hole and put a shelter in the ground,” Birdsong said, “There's actually an art to it.”
Birdsong and his crew installed two new verified storm shelters for Gougler, which give him some peace of mind.
The old ones, he said, taught him a lesson that he wants to pass on to others.
“Do your homework,” Gougler said. “You probably hear that a lot. It's a cliché, but you should do your homework.”
The National Storm Shelter Association and the American Tornado Shelter Association can verify if a shelter company is FEMA compliant.
We tried calling the business owner that installed Gougler's faulty shelters but the number is disconnected.
The BBB and the Attorney General's Office have looked into it and said the owner has not cooperated.