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The Life-Saving Impact of a Quonset Hut During Hurricane Maria

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side view of steel quonset hut with rv next to it
Puerto Rico Quonset Hut after Maria

The people on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico are still working to recover after Hurricane Maria pummeled the area, leaving residents there devastated. Some were killed and others are left to clean up the horrific mess that Maria left behind.

One of those affected by this powerful storm was Jose Malave, a longtime SteelMaster customer and business owner in Aibonito.

steel quonset hut with minor dent in rear endwall partially covered by tarp

He says he rode out the storm inside of his disaster resistant SteelMaster Building. He says thanks to his metal Quonset Hut, he is alive and able to tell his story. He was also able to save $70,000 in damages when he stored his precious belongings inside of his steel building.

Like many others in Puerto Rico, Malave knew the potential damage a category 5 hurricane could cause. He’d prepared himself for severe weather events such as this one when he purchased his SteelMaster building years ago in 2011.

Malave says the construction process was a breeze for him.

It only took four days to erect the entire steel structure. SteelMaster sends each customer a custom building that is pre-punched and pre-drilled before it leaves our factory.

The buildings are all prefabricated which makes it easier to construct.

“The construction process of this type of structure is very easy and inexpensive. I built the building myself with two assistants,” says Malave.

He started out using the building as RV Storage and a place to put toys for his children. He then started to use it as the center of his agricultural business and as a house.

When Hurricane Maria came barreling towards Puerto Rico, it took on another function as a relief shelter for Malave.

“Hurricane Maria destroyed my island of Puerto Rico. We took refuge from the storm and after the storm in my building which resisted the punishment of Maria,” says Malave. “We did not make any preparation for the building; we only entered all of our belongings and closed the door.”

Malave’s family escaped the storm, but he stuck around to ride it out. He drove his RV inside of the building and then he sheltered in the RV while the storm passed. He and the building both survived one of the worst storms that has ever hit this area. Malave says the building only had minor damage after a category 5 storm.

He says proper installation may have prevented that from happening.

“The building had minor damage to the back wall. We and our work team determined that the fault was a bad installation of the rear wall,” says Malave. “If that wall had been installed the right way, nothing would have happened.”

This is not the first time this building has been tested. Malave says it has been through storms before, but this time was much more serious.

Hurricane Maria Survivor
Man rides out Hurricane Maria inside Quonset Hut

“I am extremely happy and grateful that I was able to save my life and $70,000 in equipment. I have to thank God, but also thanks to the SteelMaster team,” says Malave. “Especially to that great person called Mr. Alexander Silva for doing great business with us and having helped us not only in the business but also with the construction.”

Quonset Hut Survives Hurricane Maria
Quonset Hut Minor Damage after Hurricane Maria

Malave called SteelMaster after the storm passed to start working on getting his building back to its original form. Soon his building will be as good as new.

“Thank you very much from the team of Hacienda Los Amigos Corporation. I highly recommend this type of building; they are a work of art of modern engineering,” says Malave.