President Biden set to visit Surfside building collapse scene later this week

Joe Biden – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Crush Rush

Earlier today, the White House announced President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will be visiting the rubble site of the fallen Champlain Towers South Condominium in Surfside, Fla., on Thursday.

Almost a week has passed since the unfortunate tragedy in Surfside, where search-and-rescue operations continue following the 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium collapse last Thursday.

To date, 11 people have been confirmed deceased and another 150 are unaccounted for according to local officials.

Emergency fire and rescue crews from all over the country and the state joined forces at the site of the collapse along Florida’s State Road A1A and 89th Street in Miami-Dade County.

“In terms of a visit by the president, we always want to ensure that we’re not pulling from local resources,”  White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing on Monday. “We don’t want to draw resources that are needed in the ongoing search and rescue operations and efforts. We will remain in close contact with officials on the ground.”

President Biden has been in communication with Florida governor Ron DeSantis who declared a state of emergency on Friday to allow federal resources to intervene and support search and recovery efforts at the site.

“The goal, of course, is to get to the bottom of what happened and of course have it be an instructive guide on how to prevent it from happening in the future,” Psaki said.

The news of the visit comes one day after the White House said the president would not be visiting the site of the collapse any time soon as not to interrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.

Last Thursday, a large chunk of the southern tower in Surfside, a 40-year old building, came crashing down in the early hours of the morning, trapping hundreds of residents and visitors in a rubble mound estimated to be over two stories in height. 

“This is an unimaginably difficult time for the families enduring this tragedy,” Biden said in a statement on Sunday. “For those who are waiting in anguish for word of their loved ones as search and rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of this catastrophic incident, the pain of the uncertainty is an added, heartbreaking burden. My heart goes out to every single person suffering during this awful moment.”

Since the collapse, several reports have surfaced questioning the stability of the building in past inspections and the highlighting of “significant cracks” to the structure of the building.

As of now, the cause of the collapse is unknown, and the White House has said they intend to conduct a full investigation to uncover the truth. 

Crews have been working around the clock in shifts to uncover more potential bodies in the rubble and so far have encountered fires, elements of rain, and other unforeseen elements in the process. 

“They want to thank the heroic first responders, search-and-rescue teams, and everyone who’s been working tirelessly around the clock,” said Psaki on the purpose of the visit.

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