Did FEMA’s response to a Florida condo collapse require a request for federal help from Gov. DeSantis?

Tuesday, June 29, 2021
By Stevie Rosignol-Cortez

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.”

This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
Between 2020 and 2022, under close editorial supervision, Gigafact contracted a group of freelance writers and editors to test the concepts for fact briefs and provide inputs to our software development process. We call this effort Gigafact Foundry. Over the course of these two years, Gigafact Foundry writers published over 1500 fact briefs in response to claims they found online. Their important work forms the basis of Gigafact formats and editorial guidelines, and is available to the public on Gigafact.org. Readers should be aware that while there is still a lot of relevant information to be found, not all fact briefs produced by Gigafact Foundry reflect Gigafact's current methods and standards for fact briefs. If you come across any that you feel are out of date and need to be looked at with fresh eyes, don't hesitate to contact us at support@gigafact.org.