Family using homemade storm shelter

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 30, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – A year ago, Vidalia resident Michael Metcalf decided he wanted to protect his family during storms.

After struggling to find a suitable storm shelter to install on his Cross Street property, he and a co-worker at Mississippi River Corporation decided to build their own.

&uot;We both wanted one, and it’s so hard to find one,&uot; he said. &uot;So, we decided to build our own.&uot;

Metcalf said his family has used the shelter only once since it was completed last summer. &uot;It’s here if we need it,&uot; he said.

Being so close to the Mississippi River, Metcalf said his neighbors told him the shelter would not stay in the ground because the water table is so close to the surface.

&uot;They told me it would never work. You can hear the water under the floor,&uot; he said as he pushed against the shelter’s dry floor.

The 8-foot, by 8-foot, by 7-foot shelter is made of 1/8-inch thick sheets of steel, which Metcalf welded together himself.

&uot;We ordered the steel and welded it together at the plant, loaded it on a trailer and brought it home,&uot; he said. &uot;I got a small backhoe and dug the hole myself.&uot;

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