EDMOND, Okla. — Another woman trapped in her storm shelter. This time the woman wasn’t alone, but with her 7-year-old son.
A week ago Debbie Hite of Edmond was stuck in her FlatSafe Tornado Shelter for three days.
Now, Cindy McCachren of Deer Creek, said she got stuck in her FlatSafe shelter as well.
McCachren said her family installed it in December of last year.
Her husband put lights in and she and her son wanted to try them out.
They closed the door and couldn’t get out.
Her cell phone had no reception so they screamed for help.
Luckily, her husband heard them about 20 minutes later.
“He and my 18-year-old son and his friend tried to open the shelter from the outside they couldn’t open it. They finally got a hammer and had to beat it from the outside with a hammer and were finally able to open it,” she said.
McCachren said she immediately called the company but did not get someone to come out and fix her shelter for months.
“I said, ‘This is really disheartening. I’ve called repeatedly and you have not been out.’ I called end of December; it was last of February, beginning of March before they came out and fixed it.”
FlatSafe owner, Jerry Wirtz, said they are examining the latches they use and that when the concrete settles, the latch could be affected.
He said that’s why his company tells customers to test out their shelters at least once a year.
But after News Channel 4’s reports, Wirtz said they will take it a step further.
“The second thing is we’re going to do is ask them to keep a half-inch wrench. You can take it apart. That’s all there is to it, four little bolts.”
Wirtz also admits they had some problems with volume and calls for a while when business began booming.
“We didn’t have enough personnel and we didn’t have enough phone lines.”
He said they have added more staff and changed the way they take phone messages.
Wirtz said his shelters are up to all code.
We checked with the Better Business Bureau and there is only one complaint logged against FlatSafe; it involved a referral fee dispute.