He was a New York state trooper and a survivor of the Route 23 accident that occured. He also served as the male protagonist, alongside Kimberly Corman. Burke was driving down the road when he saw a Log truck with a loose chain. Before he could do anything, hot coffee spilled on his leg and caused him to shout on in pain. When he looked back up after wiping his uniform, a large log bounced into the air and smashed through the windshield, crushing his head. In reality, this hadn't happened yet and was all a dream seen in Kimberly's mind. Burke drove up to Kimberly SUV once she freaked out and said an accident was going to happen, but he didn't believe her. Suddenly, the accident did happen and several motorists were killed. Burke retreated to his patrol car to report the accident while Kimberly stared at the accident, unable to believe what was happening. Burke saw a semi coming for Kimberly and he ran up to her, grabbing her and pulling out of the way before it ran her over. Kimberly friends weren't so lucky, and they were all incinerated in the crash.
After the accident, Burke teamed up with Kimberly to find and save the other survivors when he realized that Death was coming for them. However, all attempts were futile and he only managed to save Kimberly. Originally, Burke was supposed to have died in a shootout when he and his partner were called in on a crime bust, but at the last second, Burke was sent to clean up one of the Flight 180 victims, Billy Hitchcock.
If he died, Officer Burke was the seventh survivor to die.
Five years after Brian Gibbons' death, Burke went to a hardware store to buy supplies, and met Kimberly inside. As they greeted each other, an unmanned vehicle began to drive down the road until it crashed into the store, nearly killing Kim and Burke. They rushed outside the back door at the last minute only to come into contact with a woodchipper, which failed to shut off. Kimberly got her coat caught inside the machine and was slowly sucked in. Burke tried to save Kimberly, but in the process, he got caught in the machine too. Both of them were hacked to bits by the woodchipper, their blood splattering all over the wall.
The newspaper article shown in the "Choose Their Fate" feature of Final Destination 3 which describes the accident reads verbatim as the following:
- The canonicity of the article is hotly debated, but thus far there is nothing contradicting or verifying it.
- Note that the article says Route 180 pile-up, when in the film it was actually Route 23.
- The article says the event took place at Lakeview, NJ, but in the film it says they were residents of White Plains, NY.
- There is inconsistency in the timeline of events as described by this article. It says they were both the last survivors of the pile-up that happened three years ago. Kevin Fischer specifically said that the Flight 180 premonition happened six years ago, and in Final Destination 2, the pile-up happened on the exact day that marked a year since the Flight 180 premonition. Unless the newspaper article is outdated in the film, as it was covering a homeless man, this creates an error in the timeline.
- At the top of the page of the newspaper, there is a heading that says "COST OF COMMUTING | B2-3" which could possibly be referencing the Route 23 pile-up.
- The car started the chain reaction used to be owned by Evan Lewis.
- The woodchipper that sucked Thomas and Kimberly in is owned by Brian Gibbons' father.
- Thomas and Kimberly's death certificates were signed by Doctor Ellen Kalarjian.
- The funeral services for both were held at Mr. Bludworth's Funeral Home.
- Burke's police callsign is Unit 13.
- Ironically, the machine that kills him is a machine that deals with logs and wood.
- In the original script of Final Destination 3, Kimberly and Officer Burke were going to be on Train 081 and die along with Wendy Christensen, Kevin Fischer and Julie Christensen.