Tribal officials surveying to significant damage to building hit by tornado
CHERRY CREEK, SOUTH DAKOTA – Yesterday afternoon Cherry Creek, a community of approximately 350 residents in the southwest corner of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, was struck by what is believed to be a tornado or a microburst. Several buildings, including the community center, were badly damaged or destroyed. At the time the severe weather struck, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council was holding its May Tribal Council session in the community building. The roof and walls of the community center collapsed, destroying the building and trapping approximately 40 Tribal leaders, elders, and community members inside. All people were accounted for and rescued from the building with no fatalities. Numerous minor injuries have been reported, as well as several serious injuries. Several people were transported to the Eagle Butte IHS hospital for treatment.
“I want to commend the rapid response from the individual community members in Cherry Creek who risked their lives to assist those who were caught inside the building. Those men and women went above and beyond to help,” Chairman Harold Frazier stated about Wednesday’s traumatic event.
The Cheyenne River Law Enforcement Department was the first emergency response unit on scene to relieve the heroic community members who stepped in to help immediately after the com’munity center’s roof failed. CRST Community Health Representatives also attended to those with minor injuries until emergency medical crews could arrive.
Tribe thankful for those who help bring those trapped in building to safety
District 4 Councilwoman Merrie Miller-White Bull said, “I would like to say thank you to Chairman Frazier, Tribal Councilmen and Tribal Councilwomen who were there consoling, helping lifting beams and other things off the injured. I would like to thank the community members who came and helped./I A special thank you goes out to all of the following personnel: Tribal Field Health, Tribal Community Health Representatives, Tribal Game, Fish & Parks, Tribal Law Enforcement, Tribal Weather Spotters, Tribal Property and Supply, Tribal Cultural Preservation, CRST Telephone Authority, CRST Housing Authority, BIA Fire, BIA Road Department, IHS EMS, IHS Hospital Staff, AMR EMS from Pierre, Faith EMS, Timber Lake EMS, Isabel EMS, Morreau Grand Electric, Cherry Creek Volunteers, National Weather Service Aberdeen, SO, and South Dakota Department of Public Safety.
Although several serious injuries have been reported, the Chairman is thankful there were no fatalities. fiAt this time my thoughts and prayers are with those who were affected by this dangerous and devastating event,” he said. No Tribal Council representatives were seriously injured in today’s building collapse. Tribal officials, including Chairman Frazier and CRST Emergency Response Coordinator Harold Tiger, will meet today and in the coming days to gather additional information and prepare a more detailed report on yesterday’s disaster.
Arthur Jacobs contributed to this story from Oakland,Ca..