On September 11, 2001, Hollywood actor Steve Buscemi – known for his portrayals of gangsters and lunatics and once described by him The guard as an “oddly attractive shoelace” – returned to his old job as a New York City firefighter.
He worked 12-hour shifts with fellow firefighters for several days, searching the debris of the World Trade Center for survivors.
Buscemi had passed the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) civil service test at age 18 and worked as an FDNY firefighter in downtown Manhattan in the 1980s.
He later left the service to be an actor, but remained involved with the causes of the New York Fire Department, speaking at union events and hosting the HBO documentary A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY.
At the time he said of his efforts during the rescue: “It was a privilege to be able to do this. It was great to get in touch with the fire department I used to work with and some of the guys I worked with. And it was enormously helpful for me because I didn’t think about it so much while working, I felt so much.”
In 2013, the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page reminded people of his selfless act of courage, writing under a picture of Buscemi: “Do you recognize this man? do you know his name Many people know that he is an actor and his name is Steve Buscemi. What very few people know is that he was once one of New York’s bravest.
“In 1976, at the age of just 18, Steve Buscemi passed the FDNY public service test. In 1980 Steve Buscemi became a firefighter in New York City. For four years, Buscemi served at one of the busiest FDNYs, Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan’s Little Italy. He later left the fire service to become a successful actor, writer and director.
“After September 11, 2001 … Brother Buscemi returned to FDNY Engine 55.
“On September 12, 2001 and for several days after, Brother Steve worked 12-hour shifts with other firefighters to dig and sift through the debris of the World Trade Center in search of survivors.
“There are very few photos and no interviews because he turned them down. He wasn’t there for the public.”
Buscemi was also an advocate for firefighter welfare, telling CBS News, “Firefighters are great at helping others, they’re great at helping each other. But they aren’t always – they don’t always know they are in need themselves.
“Their first reaction would be, ‘Oh, the next guy has it worse, you know?'”
During the September 11 attacks, 343 firefighters gave their lives protecting and rescuing others.
Buscemi still serves on the advisory board of Friends of Firefighters, an organization dedicated to New York City firefighters and their families.
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https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/steve-buscemi-9-11-firefighter-story-b2163990.html Steve Buscemi returned to work as a firefighter on September 11th