Spavinaw Closer To Adding Two Underground Storm Shelters
SPAVINAW, Oklahoma - Spavinaw is a step closer to opening two much needed underground tornado shelters.
Google donated two giant metal containers after a tornado ripped through the community in 2013, but it’s taken a while to raise the money to turn them into underground storm shelters.
In about a month, however, the pods will be in the ground and completely buried, providing shelter to about 200 people.
People in Spavinaw know firsthand the damage a tornado can cause after a tornado in April 2013 crushed roofs and splintered homes, but it didn't destroy their resolve to find a way to make the town safer.
Spavinaw Mayor Jim Winn said, "Like anything that's bad gonna happen, you just try to anticipate. You know, duck your head and hope for the best."
Google donated two cooling pods a few months after the tornado hit for Spavinaw to turn into underground shelters.
Since then, the town has had several roadblocks for the project.
Initial donations weren't nearly enough to transform the pods into adequate storm shelters, so, for the last few years, the town has applied for more grants to get the job done.
"We're gonna put some benches in there for people to sit on and line both walls with benches," Winn said.
With severe weather always a threat, the mayor said the town never stopped looking for a solution.
"We've not only had that one, we've had three other tornadoes to come through," he said.
Four years and $40,000 later, the much-anticipated shelters will be ready once a few final improvements are added.
That should happen in about a month.
Winn said, "It's kind of like building a basement with no roof on it, and I'm gonna bring the walls up about 18 inches above ground level and bring up a handrail around it."
The mayor is glad that the pods are gonna be able to keep the town people safe, but, he said for people driving by who may get caught in the storm they can also turn to the pods for safety.