STANFIELD, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - If you lived through the 60s, practicing “duck and cover” in the event of a nuclear attack seemed normal. In 2018, a bunker built to withstand bombs seems like something you’d see in a movie.
For Dexter McIntyre, a Cold War era bunker in Stanfield, North Carolina was where he worked for more than 20 years.
“I grew up about a mile and a half from here,” McIntyre recalled. “The construction started in the Summer of '65 when I graduated from high school, and I knew it was going to be a neat place, but I didn't know really what it was going to be.”
AT&T built dozens of underground bunkers from Miami to Boston.
“The whole reason this network, the Boston - Miami network, was built was to withstand or survive a nuclear war,” McIntyre said.
One of them was in Stanfield, North Carolina.
“The cable didn't go through the major cities because the major cities were considered nuclear targets,” McIntyre said.
Its purpose was to keep communication ties open in the event of a nuclear attack. There are four flights of stairs, 10,000 cubic yards of concrete, 2,100 pounds of steel, eyewash stations, a shower and more.
“You come into this, you step on this platform here,” McIntyre demonstrated, “And it automatically washes any radiation fallout from you.”
It was built to sustain 90 people for 90 days.
“The doors are approximately 30,000 pounds,” McIntyre said.
Everything in the building was built on springs or mounts in the event a nuclear blast shook the building.
In the 60s, 70s and 80s, the bunker in Stanfield was packed with analog technology. McIntyre worked in the air radio systems, which also provided communications for Air Force One. Like his 30 coworkers, McIntyre did a little bit of everything.
“I mean, here you're working on the latest modern technology, electronics, and you also work in the sewage treatment plant,“ he said.
Fortunately, the shelter was never needed for what it was designed.