Visit a Pristine Fallout Shelter in the Valley - Off-Ramp for March 9, 2013

PHOTOS: New Woodland Hills homeowners find fully stocked fallout shelter in their backyard

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The fallout shelter can sleep four in case of world annihilation.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

John Rabe goes where only a few men have gone before -- a fallout shelter in the deep Valley.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The joys of fallout shelter cuisine.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Chris Otcasek, John Rabe and Charles Pheonix bonding in the fallout shelter.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Science fiction and post-apocalyptic reading to keep the spirit strong.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

These 15 hot drink Dixie Cups sure are adorable.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

This guy didn't make it.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Argyle socks to keep you stylish down under.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Anxiety medications and a host of other pills to keep residents relatively sane if they ended up in the fallout shelter.

Bomb Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The way out.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

The fallout shelter has seen better days.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Shelves stocked for the end of the world.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

This typography is delightful.

Fallout Shelter Valley

Mae Ryan/KPCC

John Rabe stands triumphant over the fallout shelter door.


A few weeks ago, my friend Chris Murray wrote:

Chris and Colleen recently closed on a Charles DuBois Ranch House and the bomb shelter is an absolute time capsule: still stocked with old magazines, bunks, sleeping bags and medications. I told them to keep it in case of imminent Zombie Apocalypse. You're more than welcome to visit...

He didn't need to ask twice. Chris and Colleen Otcasek immediately agreed to let Off-Ramp into their time capsule, or time machine, and didn't flinch when I showed up with shop lights, a 100-foot extension cord, historian Charles Phoenix, and KPCC photographer Mae Ryan. Chris and Colleen even made a relish tray and served Arnold Palmers.

It's really not a bomb shelter; it would never withstand a blast directed at the Valley's aerospace industry. It's a fallout shelter, designed to keep the radiation away for a few weeks, like in this cheery movie, which I'm sure comforted millions of Americans.

And inside we found a Kresge's worth of items: Kleenex, sanitary napkins, canned food, sleeping bags, magazines -- which delighted Med, Charles, Chris, and I ... and pills and a writing tablet hanging on the wall with a 30-year calendar, which made Chris Otcasek, the most somber of the group, ask, "What would you write on this? A suicide note? Anyone who built a shelter in their backyard would have to be pretty optimitistic."

Chris had just coincidentally seen a Twilight Zone episode in which a Cold War backyard fallout shelter doesn't do anything but drive neighbors apart when they think they're under nuclear attack.

Unlike many homeowners, Chris and Colleen don't plan to fill in their shelter. They say they'll leave it as it is, undisturbed for the next owners.


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