Made in Texoma: Native Storm Shelters

By  | 

DURANT, Okla. (KXII) Sheets of steel welded together to save lives.

"People get something that they can't buy with money, which is peace of mind."

The local family-owned business began building storm shelters more than 20 years ago to keep their community safe.

Now Native Storm Shelters sells more than a million dollars' worth of storm shelters, safe rooms and bunkers faster than they can build them- all from their shop in Calera.

All of their above ground shelters, now 90 percent of their business, have been tested at Texas tech university, EF-5 rated and go above and beyond what's required.

It takes three people only one day to complete one of their storm shelters. They make between 200 and 400 every year.

General Manager Bryant Metcalf said they specialize in steel because it's more customizable, and it's not as prone to damage as other materials.

"When you live in Texoma, especially when you have such drastic weather changes, you have really cold winters and warm summers,” Metcalf said. “Your ground dries and cools it can cause problems with your concrete shelters because when as the ground contracts they can crack, water can seep in."

"My wife's sister and my brother in law lost their home in Tuttle in a tornado that came through Moore,” Colbert Lighthouse Church Pastor Joe Beshirs told News12. “It was very devastating."

Beshirs had two storm shelters built last year. One underground, and an exact replica on top of it.

"We just felt the need to build one for the community," Beshirs said.

An especially welcome sight for anyone living in mobile homes nearby.

150 people can fit between the pair, paid for by fundraising, help from the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations and a break from Native Storm Shelters when they fell short.

Now they're open to the public, 24/7.

Metcalf told us it's not just churches they give extra assistance to; they provide across the board discounts for all civil servants.

"I hope we never have a devastating tragedy in the area but if we do we want it to be accessible to anyone,” Beshirs said.

"That's kind of why we stick with it,” Metcalf said. “It's just a product you feel good about providing people."

Made right here in Texoma.