Maines and his wife, Eleanor, moved into a house in Moore in 2019.
With the house came an in-ground storm shelter.
The shelter is what sealed the deal on the home for Maines as he told KFOR in an interview on January 4 that it was a necessity.
Maines said he noticed a bulge in the bottom of the shelter, but a Tornado Safe representative told him they couldn’t find the culprit of the leak.
Over time, Maines said the shelter would flood with each rainfall.
He claims the shelter flooded to the brim in December.
“You need a place to hide, you know, pretty often. It’s something that’s really important to have,” said Maines. “I pray that the tornado shelter doesn’t have to be full of water, and I guess we’ll probably hop in if we have to, you know, whether it’s got water or not.”
He never thought he’d run into this issue because the shelter is under a lifetime warranty.
However, Tornado Safe has since shut down.
KFOR stopped by Jan. 4 and peaked inside.
The front door had a key pad lock on it and there was nothing but insulation on the inside.
News 4 tried calling the two phone numbers associated with the business, but they were both a dead end.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Tornado Safe has a rating of a D- with a 57% response rate.
In the last three years, the business has received seven complaints.
The two most recent complaints mention their storm shelter flooding as well as not being able to get in touch with the business.
Once Maines’s story aired, EF5 Tornado Shelters in Edmond reached out.
“We saw the story go on News Channel 4, and we saw that he was having some trouble with a shelter. It’s just something that we are passionate about. We are passionate about people being protected. We are passionate about doing the right things when we’re given the opportunity,” said Rory Golden with EF5 Tornado Shelters.
Golden said he felt compelled to help based on hearing the family’s situation, so he offered to install a brand new above-ground storm shelter.
Thursday morning, News 4 and Golden along with his father, Brian Koons stopped by the Maines home to give the good news.
“Hi Jerry! I told you that we had a surprise for you. This is Rory and Brian,” said News 4 Reporter, Kaylee Olivas. “Do you guys want to explain what the big surprise is?”
That’s when Golden and Koons explained the donation they were wanting to give.
“It’s pretty exciting cause I pretty much just gave up. I called another company and they offered to put one in, you know, at my expense. Fill up the hole. Put a new one in, so I said, ‘Well, I guess we’re going to have to start saving our money to, you know, get something else in there because it’s no good,” explained Maines.
The new storm shelter will fit 3-5 people standing.
It’ll be bolted into a part of Maines’s garage.
“It’s just a blessing. I mean, we are blessed every day in our business and we just love returning the blessings to other people such as Jerry,” said Golden.
Maines’s new shelter is already built and ready to go.
Golden said as soon as Maines is ready for installation they’ll install it.
“We’re ready,” said Maines.
The initial plan was to install the shelter next week, but Koons confirmed the shelter will be installed Friday.
“EF5 is delivering the new safe room TOMORROW! You all are super great! Thank you so much!!!,” Maines wrote in a text Thursday afternoon.
Maines is just one of many EF5 Tornado Shelters has been able to help over the years.
When the Edmond business first opened in 2014, Golden said there were 33 storm shelter companies based in Oklahoma.
However, Golden said there are now only five or six left in the state.
Because of the shelter business closures, it’s now made EF5 Tornado Shelters a go-to for those customers who have been left in the dust.
“We probably helped a little over 200 people just in that aspect alone,” said Golden. “It is a tough business. It’s like roof with hail. People come in from out of state and they quickly open a business and then they’re out of here. We are here for the longevity of it. It’s something that we do every day and we just want to continue to help Oklahomans.”
News 4 will check back in with EF5 Tornado Shelters and Maines Friday to see how the shelter installation is going.