TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Governor Ron DeSantis solemnly admitted the state is "bracing for some bad news" following a partial condo building collapse in Surfside early Thursday morning that left at least one person dead.
Speaking at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, the governor said he'll be heading to the Champlain Towers South building "very shortly," and state emergency response units have been dispatched to the scene.
"It's a really, really tragic situation," DeSantis said. "We'll hope for the best in terms of additional recoveries, but we are bracing for some bad news just given the destruction that we're seeing."
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Officials said at least one person died and 35 people, including a child, were rescued following the collapse. Ten people were injured and two of them were taken to the hospital.
According to DeSantis, the building was more than 80% occupied at the time of the collapse.
"The first responders were able to save a lot of people. They are gonna be going through more," DeSantis said. "But I do think the quick response was very important, and I do think it saved lives."
The governor said he's spoken with the mayors of Surfside and Bal Harbour, and the directors of Florida's Department of Emergency Management and Florida Department of Transportation.
"The state is gonna be able to do, we'll be helping out in any way that we can," DeSantis said. "We're hoping for additional rescues, but we're also bracing for some potentially terrible news because it was a real catastrophe."
Earlier on Thursday, DeSantis expressed his condolences on Twitter, thanking first responders and saying a family reunification center has been set up at the Surfside Community Center, located at 9301 Collins Avenue.
"If you have loved ones who are unaccounted for or are safe, please call 305-614-1819 to account for them," DeSantis tweeted.
Thank you to those who have responded to the tragic building collapse in Surfside. These first responders saved lives. The state has emergency response personnel on site and will assist in any way it can.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 24, 2021