US Congressman Jeff Duncan thanks Johnston First Responders, gets look at damage from EF-2 Tornado

WJBF Channel 6 by Stefany Bornman

JOHNSTON, S.C. (WJBF) – U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan continued his annual ‘First Responders Tour’ through Johnston, South Carolina.

The Congressman took the opportunity to thank first responders for their life-saving efforts, in April, during the EF-2 Tornado that ripped through the town.

Duncan told WJBF NewsChannel 6 the tour came at a perfect time, because he can get a better understanding of what the town needs to move forward.

Take a drive down any Johnston City road and you’ll see piles and piles of debris stacked near the roadway outside many homes.

More than a month after declaring Johnston in a state of emergency, Mayor Terrence Culbreath met with state lawmakers asking for assistance to remove the larger debris that’s still lingering.

“My state house visit, has done something because now we have D.O.T. crews here, earlier this morning.” Culbreath told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “From what I hear, they are going to get some of the stuff cleaned up.”

The line of storms may have ripped through the Edgefield County town, but fortunately it didn’t take any lives.

On Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Jeff Duncan stopped in Johnston, to meet and thank the mostly volunteer driven fire and police department.

“They do a very, very good job with it.” Duncan said. “This was a prime example with the windstorm and the damage that is here, that they are having to deal with.”

While the state hasn’t allocated money for Johnston cleanup, leaders are hopeful the Congressman’s visit will further push the envelope to get the town debris-free.

“I think the major problem is just making sure that we have the equipment needed to get the bigger debris up.” Chief of Police Lamaz Robinson told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “We’re just not in a position here, in the town, to where we have that equipment.”

“As always we stand ready and willing to help whether it’s for firefighting equipment [or] whether it is law enforcement grants.” Duncan said. “That’s just an ongoing, continuous thing. Not just when a major storm hits.”

South Carolina Department of Transportation is mainly focusing on cleaning up debris covering roadways.

The Mayor says they could still use any help they can get from volunteers.