Tornado shelter in Crofton, Ky. offers peace of mind for its population

Crofton Tornado Safe Room 4.jpeg
Posted at 8:31 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 09:33:42-05

CROFTON, Ky. (WTVF) — The anniversary of the March 2020 deadly tornadoes is a good time to reflect on your preparations for severe weather. One Kentucky town has a weather weapon for its entire population.

The tornado safe room is a refuge in the case of a storm for Crofton, Kentucky. Over the last few years, the city of 800 has seen an unusually high number of tornadoes spotted or touched down.

"Since more of the storms are coming this way we are trying to get more prepared to help the people," said Crofton Mayor Danny Lacy.

Brian Diamond, the chief coordinator at the tornado safe shelter, constantly monitors the weather and uses state-of-the-art radio communications. He can also activate local tornado sirens.

"As long as the high winds and tornadoes are mentioned, we are going to be opening up this building just for the peace of mind of the general public," Diamond said.

Completed in 2016, the $800,000 safe shelter was built through grants provided by local and state governments as well as FEMA. The walls are 8 inches thick with concrete and steel and rebar on the roof. It's also earthquake safe and has a massive generator to keep the lights on.

"If you are standing up in the restrooms and in the storage, you can hold 500 people in this one and this one is rated for an EF5," said Lacy.

Last December when the tornado struck Mayfield, Kentucky there were 123 people waiting out the storm in Crofton's shelter in case it came their way.

The shelter has a full kitchen and bathrooms with showers for men and women. It is pet friendly too.

Residents Jim Byrum and Larry Owen have brought their families here during threatening weather.

"I've got a special needs grandchild that lives with me and it's very comforting to me to know we have a place like this to come to," said Bryum.

Owen agrees.

"Long story short, it's really a peace of mind because... all material things can be replaced but you can't replace your families," Owen said.

Anyone with storm anxiety is welcome to come to the shelter whether you live in Crofton or not.