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President Trump, Secretary Chao Meet with I-85 First Responders

President Trump, Secretary Chao Meet with I-85 First Responders

At 6:12 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, a fire underneath an Atlanta I-85 bridge was reported to authorities. By 7 p.m. the bridge had collapsed.

Astonishingly, despite this incredible event happening during rush hour to one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, there were no major injuries reported. President Donald Trump and Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao this week credited Atlanta’s first responders with ensuring the public’s safety that day and thanked many of them in person at the White House for their heroic efforts.

“On that day, Georgia State police and Atlanta police took fast action to get motorists away from danger,” Trump said. “Then, our brave firefighters battled 40-foot flames, which was incredible.”

Joining President Trump and Secretary Chao in the Roosevelt Room on Thursday were members of Georgia State Patrol, the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, and the Atlanta Police Department.

“Mr. President, beside you and around you are true heroes of our country,” Chao said.  “They demonstrate courage, steadfastness, commitment, and fealty to their oaths to serve our communities in need.”

To help the Atlanta community rebuild following the bridge collapse, the Trump administration approved $10 million in emergency relief funds within one hour of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s request. Trump said the event was a painful reminder of infrastructure’s critical importance and reiterated his commitment to funding a nationwide infrastructure program to rebuild, repair and construct roads and bridges. He also said he will continue to seek proper funding for law enforcement and public safety.

“On behalf of the entire nation, I salute you -- you're really amazing people -- and I honor your service,” Trump said. “I pledge that you will have the support of our country -- the police, the firefighters, first responders -- you will always have the support of President Trump.”

Joel Baker, fire chief of the city of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, responded for the group.

“This is not only a great day for the city of Atlanta and Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, but it's a great day for all the public safety personnel throughout the country," he said.

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