Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis requested federal assistance late in the afternoon following the early morning collapse of a Surfside, Florida, apartment building on June 24, 2021. The White House issued a federal emergency declaration the next day.
President Joe Biden told reporters the afternoon of the collapse that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was “ready to go,” with teams already on the scene, he said. FEMA can only act after a state officially requests help.
The state’s request is time-stamped at 5:52 p.m., June 24. The building collapsed at about 1:20 a.m. Local news reports noted that DeSantis traveled to Surfside, at the opposite end of the state from the capital, as part of his own initial response. “Travel time back to Tallahassee, drafting, and briefing the Governor accounted for the delay of the order,” Florida Politics reported, citing “knowledgeable sources.”