Joe Biden

Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Following a Tour of the Site of the Collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

January 28, 2022

Q. Mr. President, what do you think of the site?

The President. It's incredible. It even—I mean, this is—first of all, these guys deserve an incredible amount of credit going down here. And by the way, while this was going on, they tell me the gas leak was—explain what you said to me about the noise.

Pittsburgh Police Department Officer Jeffrey LaBella. It was just a very loud—like a jet engine. The gas was rushing out.

The President. And you can see—you see it coming out of that—on the other side of the concrete there, this side, up by the crane. And, well, were you worried that that—that there had been an explosion or that there had been a collapse?

Ofc. LaBella. We weren't sure whether the gas had caused this or whether the leak was, you know, a result of——

The President. Yes.

Ofc. LaBella. ——the bridge collapse. So we just weren't sure at that time.

The President. How long did it take the company to shut off the gas?

Pittsburgh Police Department Officer Tyler Nestler. Probably——

Ofc. LaBella. I'd say about a half hour.

Ofc. Nestler. Half hour, 45 minutes. So that was just continuing outside of the—out in the air.

Ofc. LaBella. So there's—obviously there's another line right here as well.

The President. On this side as well, yes.

Ofc. LaBella. Yes. So that was rushing out. So——

The President. And it was probably too early for joggers to be down there.

Ofc. LaBella. There was a few joggers actually. There was a few. One of them actually helped us get some people out of the cars there. So——

The President. Well, I'll be damned.

Ofc. LaBella. Yes. [Laughter]

Pittsburgh Police Department Chaplain Rabbi Elisar Admon. It's a miracle, Mr. President. It's a miracle.

The President. It really is. It really is. It's astounding.

Q. Mr. President——

Q. So, Mr. President, what does it say——

The President. You all realize—I've been coming to Pittsburgh a long time and as a former Pennsylvanian. But I didn't realize there are literally more bridges in Pittsburgh than in any other city in the world. Did you know? More than in Venice. I mean, I knew there are a lot of bridges—I had no idea that. And we're going to—they're going to fix them all. Not a joke. This is going to be a gigantic change. And there's 43,000 nationwide. And we're sending the money.

And by the way, we're going to give you guys more money too—cops.

Ofc. LaBella. Thank you, sir.

Ofc. Nestler. Thank you, sir. We appreciate that.

The President. Thank you.

Q. Mr. President—[inaudible]—know what caused the collapse of the bridge at all? Do you have any insight into that?

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:30 p.m. in Frick Park.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks in an Exchange With Reporters Following a Tour of the Site of the Collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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