TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Governor Ron DeSantis said the quick actions of Miami-Dade County and other rescue workers who spent Thursday morning getting survivors out of a 12-story collapsed oceanfront condominium tower saved an unknown number of lives.
One person has been confirmed dead, 37 rescued and at least 51 unaccounted for.
Emergency workers also made sure the survivors had a place to go.
"Through the help of the Red Cross we have short-term hotels set up for these folks," DeSantis said.
DeSantis had no information to share on what caused the tower to collapse, saying engineers would look into that.
Kevin Guthrie, the State Emergency Management Director, said at least five state agencies are in Surfside assisting with the rescue and recovery efforts.
State Fire Marshall and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava joined DeSantis at the Surfside Building Collapse site to receive a briefing of the situation, tour site damage and coordinate state resources.
WATCH THE PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:
DeSantis also announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey to gather information on how the partial collapse of the condo complex in Surfside has impacted the local community to ensure proper resources are available for response and recovery for the Surfside community.
“Our hearts go out to the Floridians impacted by the tragedy that occurred in Surfside today,” said DeSantis. “I want to thank our brave first responders who took swift action to save lives. The state of Florida is committed to providing the resources necessary to help the community recover.”
He also directed Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) to begin actively working with landlords in the Miami-Dade County area to identify rental vacancies for any displaced residents of the condo complex in Surfside.
- The survey, managed by DEO, will assess businesses affected by the event and share the results with various state and local agencies to implement appropriate relief programs.
- The survey can be taken at FloridaDisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments by selecting the “Surfside Condo Collapse.” For additional assistance, please call 850-815-4925.
- Displaced residents can also utilize FHFC’s rental locator at https://www.floridahousingsearch.org/ or call 1-877-428-8844 if they are unable to access the website.
State response efforts include:
- FDEM has deployed State Emergency Response Team personnel to assist response teams.
- FDEM Mental Health Coordinator is standing by to deploy as needed and has begun organizing mental health resources across partner agencies. The Division is also coordinating with the Florida Crisis Response Team to provide group crisis intervention to survivors.
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey to gather information and ensure proper resources are available for response and recovery for the Surfside Community. The survey can be taken at FloridaDisaster.biz/BusinessDamageAssessments by selecting the “Surfside Condo Collapse”. For additional assistance, please call 850-815-4925.
- The American Red Cross is providing temporary lodging for displaced individuals and has opened a “Safe and Well” event for the collapse. The “Safe and Well” event is available here. DEO is working with AirBnB to coordinate housing assistance for displaced individuals.
- VISIT FLORIDA held a call with AirBnB and VRBO this morning. AirBnB reported that none of their rentals in the building were occupied last night. VRBO reported that they did not have any listings in the building.
- The Florida Department of Transportation is coordinating with Miami-Dade County to fulfill resource requests that will assist with scene security and redirection of traffic.
- Displaced residents can utilize the Florida Housing and Finance Corporation rental locator at FloridaHousingSearch.org or call 877-428-8844.
Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 remains on-scene to provide support for search and rescue operations.
Individuals with information about loved ones who are unaccounted for, or are safe, are encouraged to call the reunification hotline at 305-614-1819.
Impacted individuals are also encouraged to contact the following helpline services for immediate emotional support:
Disaster Distress Helpline – 800-985-5990Florida 211 Network – 211Crisis Text Line – Text HELLO to 741741
State personnel remain on scene and will continue to provide assistance, as requested.
President Biden said he is waiting for DeSantis to declare a State of Emergency so he can authorize FEMA.