San Diego

Woman Worried Driveway Will Collapse Over Underground Bomb Shelter

If Serra Mesa resident Amy Holles ever gets married again, she has the perfect room for her future mother-in-law.

Holles’s home came equipped with a 1950s-era bomb shelter dug underneath the driveway.

The shelter is accessed through a wooden hatch door in the garage. A steep wooden staircase leads shelter seekers into a pocket of stale air walled by concrete. Beyond a power outlet, a retractable dining table, and flat turquoise paint, the shelter doesn’t provide much luxury. What it can provide, presumably – its efficacy has never been tested – is protection from nuclear holocaust.

While the issues of safety from air raids and boarding for her future in-laws are solved, Holles is worried about a more immediate issue: the cracking in her driveway.

There are several apparently severe cracks in the concrete. Holles says it seems like there are more cracks now than there were a year ago when she inherited the lot from her aunt. She thinks her driveway is about to give out, but doesn’t know for sure.

“Who do you call?” she asked. “You can’t look up bomb shelter inspectors.”

For now, Holles says she’ll embrace the shelter. The city of San Diego recommended she call a structural engineer to assess its stability. The city also said it can’t force her to do anything because the shelter is legal and it’s on private property.

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