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Mt. Juliet man builds storm shelter in home following tornadoes

man builds storm shelter in Mt. Juliet house
Posted at 6:32 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 19:32:37-04

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Mt. Juliet man whose home was heavily damaged by the December 2021 tornadoes is seeking a storm shelter to protect his family.

Just before the tornado hit Warren Bondi's home, he rushed his two kids, pregnant wife and dog into a storage closet beneath the stairs.

The EF-1 tornado ripped an entire wall out of Bondi's house and caused damage to the roof, windows, walls and foundation.

The damage impacted every room in the home. However, his insurance won't let him tear it down, despite the $200,000 or more damage done.

tornado storm damage mt. juliet home

Instead, he'll fix up the home. Bondi said there's one aspect of the home that's non-negotiable: a new storm shelter.

"We already rode one out in here," said Bondi. "So, we know how we fit in here; we know the routine. Also our steps to where all of our rooms are right here. Everybody does them in their garage and bolts them in the garage. But the problem with that, in my brain, is if another one was to hit and it was like the March in 2020 ones where you had minimal seconds to take cover."

He wants the shelter as close to the second floor steps as possible. So, it's likely on top of all the other work the house needs, he'll have to pay for a custom shelter which could cost as much as $20,000, if not more.

For him, it's worth the peace of mind for his now three children.

"Right now, we can take and we can get the house fixed. Anything extra outside of what is fixed from the storm we'll have to pay for, but it's worth it if we come back and the kids are happy, and everybody is comfortable and feels good and my kids aren't drawing tornadoes in their drawings anymore," he said.

Bondi also still hasn't received any aid from FEMA for his home. He said he's been rejected twice but is trying again to get more help.

He was approved for a low interest SBA loan, but is worried about the overall cost.

Right now, the family is living in a rental elsewhere. Work should begin on restoring the house soon.