In the vast realm of TikTok, a peculiar tale has captured the attention of over half a million followers. Meet Kala, widely known as TikTok Tunnel Girl, a 37-year-old woman who embarked on an ambitious project beneath her suburban home in Fairfax County, Virginia. Her venture into building a secret storm shelter beneath her home’s basement has recently hit a roadblock, attracting attention on TikTok and other social platforms.
For more than a year, she has mesmerized her audience with regular updates showcasing her unconventional journey: sawing through layers of dirt, crafting a DIY mine elevator, and even envisioning a “castle tower” adjacent to her house, constructed from the rocks she’s uncovered. The saga unfolded innocuously on TikTok in October 2022 when Kala introduced a seemingly benign project to build a storm shelter in her basement. Little did her 538.1K followers anticipate the labyrinthine twists that lay ahead.
Fairfax County’s unwelcoming terrain and its TikTok Tunnel Girl
This suburban sanctuary, nestled in the bosom of Northern Virginia, is notorious for its meticulous adherence to rules and regulations. With a substantial population comprising government employees, ex-military personnel, and the occasional FBI agent, Fairfax County is a bastion of rule-following citizens. It’s also a haven for Homeowner’s Associations (HOA), where even a quirky mailbox can spark controversy. Yet, Kala, operating under the moniker @engineer.everything and known as TikTok Tunnel Girl, despite lacking the credentials of a certified engineer, ambitiously pursued her tunnel endeavor.
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A business degree holder working in the tech industry, Kala embarked on her ambitious venture in a region where digging into the ground comes with unforeseen challenges, given the prevalence of heavy clay and naturally occurring asbestos in the soil. Acknowledging some excavation on her part, Kala invited officials to inspect the site. Unfortunately, her enthusiasm was met with a stop-work order. Jack Smith emphasized the need for a professional engineer’s evaluation before resuming the project. Undeterred, Kala assured her followers that the structure was entirely beneath her house’s slab and expressed optimism about obtaining the necessary permits.
Despite Kala’s reassurances, the State Building Codes Office remained silent on the matter, while Herndon town officials released a statement. The spokesperson confirmed that they received a notice highlighting potential violations of the Uniform Statewide Building Code. A site inspection was promptly conducted, and the town is collaborating with Kala to rectify any infractions and ensure compliance with the building code.
Unearthing the ‘Secret Tunnel’ Project
Kala’s journey into constructing the secret storm shelter traces back to October 2022 when she first introduced her ambitious plan. Her vision included cutting into a wall to create the shelter and adding a wooden ramp. She openly shared the complexities involved, anticipating the need for a crane and bucket to remove debris from the window, situated approximately 14 feet below ground level.
Over the past year, Kala documented her progress on TikTok, detailing the hurdles encountered along the way. Challenges ranged from water seepage and limited space for rock and debris to smoking and sparking power cord. However, the most significant setback emerged with a malfunctioning jackhammer. Bolts loosened, and internal issues plagued the device, hindering the excavation process. In the face of adversity, Kala’s determination remains unwavering. As she navigates regulatory obstacles, her ‘TikTok Tunnel’ project has become a testament to both resilience and the power of sharing one’s journey in the digital age.
Featured Image: Jezebel