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Ground Zero Storm Shelters Assists on Extreme Home Makeover in Okla.

Fri May 14, 2010 - West Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Oklahoma is well known for snowstorms, torrential rains, dust storms and, especially, tornados. A tornado is what prompted Extreme Home Makeover to help the Skaggs family, who live in Slaughterville, Okla. They lost their home and all of their belongings in a tornado.

When the people at Extreme Home Makeover considered featuring the rebuild of the Skaggs’s home on the show, they tried to think of everything that the new house would need, with a special focus on protection against the severe Oklahoma weather.

They approached Ground Zero Shelters of Perry, Okla. The owner of the company, Richard Crow, had suffered damage to his own home during an unprecedented tornado event that took place from May 3 to May 6, 1999. The rarely encountered F5 level tornado raged though Perry, Okla., and then rampaged through Kansas, Arkansas and Tennessee. By the time the storm ended, 50 people had been killed, more than 7,000 homes had been damaged and more than 2,000 homes had been completely destroyed.

It was shortly after the Crows’ own experience with a devastating tornado that they established Ground Zero Storm Shelters, Oklahoma City, to protect other families in the future. The Ground Zero team has developed one of the most innovative shelters manufactured in the industry. There are two models that can accommodate six to 12 people and are typically installed underground in a garage or as an above ground safe room. Custom units are available to fit individual needs and have been impact tested by Texas Tech Wind and Science Institute and exceed FEMA requirements. Crow was enthusiastic about working on Extreme Home Makeover.

“About eight weeks before the project was to begin, Extreme Home Makeover approached us and asked us to be a partner in the project. We talked it over and decided it was something we wanted to do; to be able to give back to someone who needed help protecting their family from tornadoes,” Crow said.

Once the construction of the home began, the real challenge came to Ground Zero. Normally it takes a few hours to dig and install a typical shelter. On Extreme Home Makeover, the crew was asked to deliver, dig the hole, install the shelter, surround the shelter with ready mix concrete and clean up in only one hour. Rising to the challenge, the crew finished the work in just 58 minutes, using their “go-to piece of equipment,” the Ditch Witch MX202 mini-excavator, purchased from Ditch Witch of Oklahoma.

“We were able to install the storm shelter in less than the allotted time due to the MX202’s simple operation, access to tight spaces like a garage, maneuverability and versatility,” stated Crow. Ground Zero uses a MX202 to install all of its storm shelters. With a total of 28 families now involved in the business, Ground Zero has the capacity to install shelters in eleven states: Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Florida, and Tennessee.

“We were thrilled to work with Extreme Makeover and Ideal Homes to provide the Skaggs family with one of our shelters. It was a great privilege and blessing to help a fellow American family and to be part of this project,” Crow concluded.

For more information on Ground Zero Storm Shelters, visit or call 1-877-880-1351.

For more information on Ditch Witch Equipment, visit Ditch Witch of Oklahoma at or call 405-348-4633.

The episode of Extreme Makeover that featured Ground Zero aired on March 14. Details can be seen at

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