School bus converted into underground storm shelter - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Buried bus rides out storms

You can call it 'riding out the storm', literally.

James Hunter and his wife buried an old school bus to make a creative storm shelter.

"I'm ready for the tornado, you know," Hunter beamed.

They purchased the old bus five years ago after a tornado ripped through the trailer park they own.

"It didn't do much damage, but it picked up a trailer and threw it across the highway," Mrs. Hunter recalled.

The landlords were concerned about their tenants' safety during severe weather. Now, the underground bus serves as a refuge. 

"They [the tenants] were safe. A lot of them say it was roomy, and they had a nice time down there," Mary Scott, a tenant in the mobile home park said.

The Hunters say the idea to use a bus came about as a matter of frugality.

"We started looking for retainers, and they were so expensive. So then we thought of a school bus," Mrs. Hunter said.

They found an old bus in a junkyard. After purchasing it for only $800, the couple hired a man for $700 to dig a hole to bury it. 

The bus has 20 seats and it can fit about 75 people, including those standing along the aisle.

The hole is just deep enough to cover the bus. Two air vents are the only things that stick out of the ground. When finished, the 27-foot-long bus was rolled into the nine-foot-deep hole and covered with dirt.

"Then, when we got all the dirt out and the bus down to the level of the ground, we were able to back the bus into the runway and then pull it down in there," Mr. Hunter said.

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