I-85 collapse: Atlanta police, firefighters going to White House for heroism honors

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Wednesday praised the city’s police and firefighters for their response to last month’s I-85 bridge collapse, one day before a handful of the first responders are expected to be congratulated by President Donald Trump in Washington.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the quick response and split second decisions of all of these officers saved countless lives,” Reed said in a ceremony held in the Old Council Chambers at Atlanta City Hall. “You want heroes? In my opinion we have a whole bunch of heroes with us in this room today.”

Mayor Reed thanked the first responders and all of the honorees received special plaques. (

Trump is expected to congratulate first responders in a ceremony at the White House on Thursday, though details have not been ironed out.

MORE: State offers $3.1 million incentive to finish I-85 bridge early  

IN-DEPTH: Who’s to blame for Atlanta bridge collapse?

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A bridge portion of I-85 in Buckhead collapsed during rush hour March 30 after a blaze under the viaduct severely damaged the structure. Police and firefighters quickly sealed off the area, a major thoroughfare for metro Atlanta. The move avoided motorist casualties. 

No rescue officials were hurt in the collapse. 

Reed said the action of police, fire and rescue prevented a catastrophic situation from becoming a deadly tragedy.

“It’s my sense that’s why you signed up for the jobs that you do,” Reed said. 

Crews demolish damaged sections of I-85 bridge structures on Saturday, April 1, 2017. (Video by Hyosub Shin / AJC)

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