Court Files Restraining Order Against Storm Shelter Company
The Madison County Circuit Court has issued a temporary restraining order against Tornado Masters, a company out or Toney, Alabama; it’s chief operating officer, Leslie Holt; employee, Grady Holt’ and SafeSteel, Inc.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange requested the restraining order Monday. In the complaint, Attorney General Strange claims Tornado Masters violated Alabama’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act by telling consumers their storm shelters would offer protection from powerful tornadoes. The complaint also says Tornado Masters falsely claimed their shelters exceeded FEMA specifications, but instead gave customers structures that were on inadequate bases, not properly anchored, began to rust within months, filled up with water when it rained and had inadequate ventilation.
The complaint by Attorney General Strange says one of the most egregious violations by Tornado Masters is a shelter installed at Huntsville Christian Academy in 2009. The complaint claims that $80,000 shelter is unsafe, unlicensed and inadequate. The complaint says the school’s shelter has no lights, has flammable egg-foam crating on the walls, little or no ventilation and doors that swing inward, which the complaint says is dangerous in a panic situation. Attorney General Strange says the State Fire Marshal inspected that shelter Friday afternoon after the tornadoes and declared it to be a hazard.
Attorney General Strange’s complaint also claims shelters installed by Tornado Masters do not have a manufacturer’s label, operating instructions or warning information. The complaint also says none of the defendants have business licenses, and never acquired building permits.
A hearing is scheduled for March 16.