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Storm Shelter Business Soars After Twisters

DECATUR (CBSDFW.COM) - Storm shelter businesses in North Texas can hardly keep up with demand after a series of deadly tornadoes hit North Texas and Oklahoma.

U.S. Storm Shelters out of Decatur now has a 200 person waiting list of people wanting to buy in ground shelters after seeing the devastation caused by recent severe weather. Brett West, who founded the company in 2005, said his employees are working around the clock, 7 days a week to keep up with demand. He's even looking to hire more people.

"They've been working about 7 a.m. to about 10:30 p.m. everyday since the Hood County tornadoes hit so we went from very slow to absolute insane demand," West said. "We are doing everything we can to build as fast as we can and get them in the ground.

West sells in ground 6 feet by 8 feet in ground concrete storm shelters.

He also sells custom steel indoor safe rooms ranging in size from a telephone booth for two people to an 8 feet by 8 feet room.

"We anchor it to the foundation," West said. "They are rated to withstand a direct strike from a 250 mph EF5 tornado."

Monica Schumbert loves the views from her Decatur home, but says the rolling hills and green pastures offer little protection from severe weather.

"We've lived eight out here eight years now and every spring we go through the terror of tornado warnings, tornado watches and we're on a hill," Schumbert said. "We live in a double wide so we decided we needed something to keep our family safe."

She saved up the close to $4,000 and had her storm shelter installed in March. She fit 12 other people and 2 dogs inside the shelter during recent storms.

"When I saw what happened in Hood County, I was grateful for the fact that I had one," she said.

West expects even more customers once the North Texas Council of Governments begins taking applications for rebates for shelters in June.

Homeowners can apply for rebates for half the cost of safe room shelters capped at $3,000.

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