Community of Burke continues to clean up after storm

BURKE, S.D. (KSFY) - The community of Burke is still cleaning up after Tuesday night's storm.

An EF-1 tornado touched down and high winds damaged parts of the city, including the school and the lumber yard.

"I would say a total loss," said Jason Witt, Burke Building Center co-owner. "All of our buildings are gone. Our lumber shed, our offices - the only thing standing on our entire lot is we have a small workshop with a little bit of paint storage in there. Otherwise, everything else in there is gone."

So far the owners of the Burke Building Center have been able to salvage some checks from their front offices. But Witt said these things can be replaced.

Witt's wife was working at the school when the power went out. Thankfully she got home just before the storm hit.

"About that time we saw the trees start bending over too much and my ears started popping, that's when we grabbed our kids and went to the basement," Witt said.

Now, people from towns from across the county are coming to help clean up all the debris but the sight of many landmark buildings in town severely damaged can be difficult.

"I grew up here so it's hard to see," said Mistie Sachtjen, Burke Hospital administrator. "The damage that was done, but I also know how we come together as a community. So, we'll be much stronger after this."

Right now city officials are encouraging people to stay out of the city of Burke as the clean up continues. Those wanting to volunteer are asked to call ahead of time.