Who’s accountable for regulating storm shelter installation?

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MOORE, Okla. -- After this month's historic rainfall, we saw picture after picture of storm shelters that popped up out of the ground.

One family from Moore says it happened to them and they had no one to hold accountable because no one in our state is regulating the storm shelter industry.

The South family bought a permit from the City of Moore for their storm shelter.

They say no one came out to inspect the installation.

Now, they're left wondering who's looking out for their safety.

Ronnie and Barbara are scared.

"This is tornado alley," says Barbara. "We've lived here six years and we've been in three tornadoes, so we take it pretty serious."

They bought this shelter after the May 20, 2013 tornado from a company they thought was reputable.

Turns out, the South family has been completely disappointed.

"You know people are putting their lives in their hands," says Barbara. "If they're not doing it right, then it's not even worth having."

The owner of Tornado Safe Shelters, Darrin Humphrey says his company is doing it right, but admits the bad ones aren't being held accountable.

In the City of Moore, "The city does not watch the actual installation," according to Humphrey.

Andrew Donley asks, "You guys as a city do not have inspectors go out and check on the property owners and make sure they did the right thing?"

"No, we do not," answers Moore Assistant City Manager, Stan Drake.

In Oklahoma City, they do inspections after the shelter is in place, but they're not looking for safety law.

"We're checking to make sure it was put in the place where they proposed it on the permit," says Bob Tener of OKC Development Services.

"To me, that's a little bit late," says Darrin. "That's after the fact. You can fill the hole with dirt and put a little bit of concrete on top, and smooth it out and make it look good, but that doesn't mean the shelter is installed correctly."

Andrew Donley asks, "Does it surprise you to hear that there's no regulation agency that regulates installations?"

Says South, "Well yeah, it does. I mean you would think, everything else does, why wouldn't that?

Oklahoma City has collected fees and approved more than 15,000 permit applications for storm shelters in the past 2.5 years.

"There's no way that we could have an inspector on site for each installation," says Tener.

Moore has approved almost half as many.

"It would be good to make the necessary inspections," says Drake. "We just don't have the manpower."

But, that may change.

"I feel certain at some point in time, the state will intervene and require these contractors to be licensed and bonded and insured," explains Drake.

For now, Oklahomans are stuck weathering the storm on their own.

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