Coronavirus concerns: 'Pandemic-proof' camp in West Virginia could house 500 people for 25 years

Drew Miller inside a well-stocked fortified bunker that's still under construction on August 23, 2019. Miller, a retired Air Force intelligence officer and Harvard-educated writer, has been establishing compounds for the apocalypse. So far about 100

Feel too exposed to COVID-19 in your crowded apartment building?

West Virginia doomsday preppers are offering survivalists the chance to hunker down at a remote coronavirus pandemic-proof camp that can house up to 500 people for a quarter century.

“It’s like a life insurance policy that actually protects your life, rather than a life insurance policy that pays to bury you,” Fortitude Ranch manager and former Operation Desert Storm soldier Steve Rene tells AFP.


Just $1,000 a year lands you a spot at the 100-acre facility, which is outfitted with concrete bunkers, solar panels and even a ditch for incinerating infected corpses.

If that wasn’t “zombie apocalypse flick” enough, Fortitude Ranch also features four sentry towers equipped with rifles powerful enough to disable an armored car.

And while an attack is “unlikely,” Rene acknowledges that “desperate people do desperate things,” especially when provisions become scarce.

However, prospective preppers better hurry up and book a space. Once a committee of five people deems the situation “catastrophic,” the Appalachia-based facility will go into lockdown mode, whereupon members will be asked to report to the base located two hours from Washington, D.C. They’ll only be permitted entry using a secret password and after passing a temperature screening via a no-contact thermometer, reports AFP.

Once inside, disease refugees will have access to wells, greenhouses, livestock and enough food, face masks and toilet paper to sustain occupants for 25 years. So no need to brawl over bathroom tissue at the local grocer before settling in.

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Despite sounding like an apocalypticist’s pipe dream, Rene maintains that Fortitude Ranch simply provides a refuge for those caught off guard by the coronavirus pandemic. “If you’re not prepared in some way, you have just nowhere to go, nothing to do,” says Rene, who claims to have notably helped victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. “Everybody scrambles and lots of things get out of hand.”

Fortitude Ranch was founded by former Cold War intelligence expert and Harvard University grad Drew Miller, who aims to roll out more COVID-19 shelters across the US.

“It’s not a bunch of crazy people with this idea that tomorrow the world ends,” says Rene.