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Worried about 2012? Man plans shelter near Barstow

BARSTOW • A Del Mar man says that he is building an underground shelter for a major disaster or other world-changing event in the desert near Barstow.

Robert Vicino is the founder of Vivos, which bills itself as “the ultimate underground shelter for surviving these uncertain times.”

Although Vicino said that his organization does not ascribe to or promote any religious belief, the timing is right for those who ascribe to the belief that the world may end in 2012 in accordance with some interpretations of the Mayan calendar.

The Vivos Web site shows an artist’s representation of a modest yet somewhat futuristic compound complete with dorm-style quarters, dining hall, and hospital.

Vicino says that the idea came to him in 1980 and that he had a later vision to buy a mine, complete with blast doors, hospital and kitchen. In the ensuing years, Vicino said that he built a real estate business of high-end resort homes with “fractional ownership,” allowing those who would not otherwise be able to own a resort home to own a share and use it at different times during the year. The profits from this venture, Vicino said, funded the Vivos shelter.

Vicino said that the Vivos 100-person shelter will be able to withstand a variety of catastrophes, from global tsunami to nuclear fallout to flood.

He hopes that the shelter near Barstow will be the first in a network of nationwide shelters near every major population center in the United States. Although the shelter is near fault lines, Vicino said that he wants people in large population centers to be able to reach it relatively quickly.

“It’s hard to get away from faults,” Vicino said. “We want it far enough away from the coast but still at a reasonable distance. People should be able to reach it by motorcycle or even walking.”

Vicino said that he won’t disclose the exact location of the bunker out of the fear that a mass of people show up in the event of an emergency. He did say it was within 20 miles of Barstow.

Pictures posted on the Vivos web site show miscellaneous stairways, pipes, and blast doors. A nuclear blast detector seen in one photo bears the logo of Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of phone giant AT&T that went defunct in 1995.

According to Vicino, the idea is popular. He said that he received over 1,000 applications thus far and 20 just last week. He said everyone is welcome, not just doctors and lawyers.

“We say you can check your ego at the door,” said Vicino. “We want everyone.”

Although a firm price has not yet been set, Vicino said that spaces in the bunker will most likely be around the $40,000 range. More information can be found at

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or

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