Senator Thune visits Burke after tornado

Local News

“It’s just devastating.”

That’s how U.S. Senator John Thune is describing the damage left behind in Burke by a tornado, straight line winds and hail.

The storm wreaked havoc on the town, damaging the civic center, school and more.

Pictures and video give you a good idea of the destruction in Burke, but…

“There’s no substitute for seeing it firsthand,” Sen. Thune said.

Senator Thune spent part of his day in the small South Dakota town.

“Well it’s just devastating if you look at the damage and destruction this thing caused in this community,” Thune said.

The senator made his way to different spots that landed in the path of the storm including the school and a lumber yard.

He also met with people who live there.

“We really appreciate it…have people come and help. It’s very nice,” Burke Senior Lacey Person said.

Thune’s visit comes a day after Governor Kristi Noem toured the town.

“They’re aware of our situation. They are actually the people that can certainly make the difference when it comes to a month or two down the road when you’re trying to figure out how to pay for all of this,” Burke Mayor Tom Glover said.

While the Senator saw plenty of damage on his tour, he noticed something else even more significant.

“Of course what’s really impressive is the resilience in the community of Burke and what the people have shown. Everybody’s pitching in; everybody’s doing what they can to try and get things cleaned up and they’ll work on the process of rebuilding ,” Thune said.

KELOLAND News reached out to the state about a possible disaster declaration.

We were told, “Burke officials are currently in a response mode. Once that is completed, the state will discuss with local officials whether a disaster declaration request is a viable option.”

We also checked in with the rest of our congressional delegation about Burke.

We’re told Representative Dusty Johnson plans on visiting later this month.

Meanwhile, Senator Rounds is spending time with his wife in Rochester right now during her cancer treatment, and any travel plans to Burke are to be determined.

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