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Looking for a unique home in Florida? This one has a bomb shelter

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According to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, if you can afford to rent, you may be able to afford to purchase a home. This educational video discusses down payments, opportunities for financial assistance and loans.

Looking for a house with a wow factor? How about one with a bunker?

Originally built in 1960 during the Cold War, this Pinellas Park home doesn’t look out of the ordinary.

The home at 6702 78th Avenue North, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, needs some renovations. But look a little closer and you’ll find a unique feature: a large hatch in the driveway.

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The hatch opens up to a spiral staircase. It leads to an underground bunker. Christine Lipinski/Sue Ellis/Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group

Open it and there’s a spiral staircase underneath, leading to an underground bunker.

It’s why Stanley Lapinski, a Navy veteran, bought the home in 1982.

Lapinski served in the Navy during World War II aboard the USS Woolsey and was one of the war’s last Tin Can Sailors, a nickname for sailors on destroyers, according to his daughter, Christine Lapinski. He was also commander of a local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter.

He lived in the home for more than 30 years before passing away in 2012.

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Stanley Lapinski served in the Navy during World War II aboard the USS Woolsey, a Gleaves-class destroyer, and was one of the last Tin Can Sailors, according to his daughter, Christine Lapinski. He was also commander of a local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter. Christine Lapinski/Sue Ellis/Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group

Christine, who lives in New Jersey, had plans to move into the home when she retired, but said it was too difficult to maintain while living far away. Now, she’s hoping someone in need of the extra space will buy the home — bomb shelter included.

The bunker is L-shaped with two rooms and is wired for electricity, according to Sue Ellis, real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group.

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This how a Pinella Park’s underground bunker looks inside. Christine Lapinski/Sue Ellis/Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group

This is Ellis’ first time working with a bunker amenity, but she said Florida has other homes with unique characteristics, even if you can’t see it at first glance.

“You never know what lurks under our ground,” Ellis said.

Christine remembers her father using the bunker for entertainment purposes, like a family room. It even had a TV, she said.

But, after all these years, it’s unusable.

The stairs are corroded and there are a few leaks, most likely coming from the hatch, Ellis said. The bunker is currently unusable but once it’s fixed, Ellis said it could serve a variety of purposes like being a hurricane shelter or a band practice room.

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The spiraling staircase, which is now corroded, leads to an underground bunker. Christine Lapinski/Sue Ellis/Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group

Christine Lapinski said her father “tried to make it a special place” and she hopes someone will pick up where he left off and make it livable again.

Anyone interested in the home can contact Ellis at SueSellsPinellas.com

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Real Time/Breaking News Reporter. There’s never a dull moment in Florida — and I cover it. Graduated with honors from Florida International University. Find me on Twitter @TweetMichelleM
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