When Colleen and Chris Otcasek purchased a new house in Woodland Hills, California, they had no idea what they were really buying. Sure, they got the walk-in closets, the stupendously appointed kitchen, and the grand dining room that they had been looking for: but there was something else on the property.
It was a secret that stretched back to the 1960s, and it would prove to be every bit as valuable as anything in the new house itself…
When they purchased the house, the Otcaseks were only told that the property had “an unusual feature”: a large, concrete-lined hole in the backyard. They were told that the hole once housed a fallout shelter from the Cold War Era. What they didn’t know, was what could be down there after all these years.
2. Ladder Into the Dark
The ladder into the shelter went down a perilous 15 feet (4,5 meter) into the earth. It was a bit rusted and looked as though it hadn’t been used for decades. As they descended the ladder and approached the thick, metal door, they wondered what they might find in the bunker. After all, it had been a long since the Cold War…
3. Cold War
At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States were vying for control of Europe. Despite the remaining Allies’ best efforts, the Soviets were gaining power and developing their own nuclear weapons, much like the ones the U.S. had used to decimate Nagasaki and Hiroshima and win the war. The mere presence of these weapons of mass destruction started a war of posturing and propaganda that lasted throughout most of the 20th Century.
4. Historic Fallout
During that time, many countries started building fallout shelters, or underground bunkers for high-ranking, government officials. In the event of a nuclear attack, the president, his family, and his cabinet, along with many senior army and navy officers would be ushered into these bunkers to keep them safe to rebuild in the aftermath. In time, many American civilians got the same idea and built their own shelters…
5. Fully Stocked
The Otcaseks new bunker was full of nearly all the items that someone would need to survive in the event of a nuclear attack. The bunker contained water, canned food, clothing, and medicine, as well as paper products and books. There was enough room in the shelter for a family of four. What was even more remarkable, was that all the items were still wrapped in their, mostly untouched, vintage packaging.
6. Bunker Down
The Otcaseks estimated that the amount of food and various supplies would only have lasted the family about two or three weeks at most. Still, with their new warehouse of vintage supplies, the happy couple decided they wanted to learn a bit more about who built the bunker. Some research told them that the house’s previous owner, Alvin Kaufman, had built the shelter in 1961…
7. Nuclear Engineer
Alvin Kaufman was a nuclear engineer working for the U.S. Government. He knew firsthand the dangers that a nuclear attack would have posed and the ramifications of surviving such an attack. He decided early on that he wanted to protect his family from the ever-looming threat of nuclear war and resolved to spend all of his extra time, money, and effort, into building a safe refuge for them.