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The Incredible Story Of How Steve Buscemi Quietly Helped Look For Survivors During 9/11

There’s no doubting Steve Buscemi’s screen presence. The actor is well-known for his appearances in films such as Reservoir Dogs, The Big Lebowski, and Armageddon, as well as famous TV programs such as Boardwalk Empire.

The now 63-year-old actor, who frequently plays oddballs and eccentrics, has received both praise and honors for his work throughout the years. But did you know the actor used to be a firefighter? From 1980 until 1984, Steve Buscemi was a New York City Fire Department (FDNY) fireman with Engine 55 in Little Italy. He then quit to pursue a career as a full-time actor. Until he returned in 2001, the day after the 9/11 attacks.

Buscemi arrived at his former fire station, ready to work, knowing that many firemen, as well as many innocent individuals, had gone missing. Engine 55 lost four firemen on 9/11. For a week, the actor worked 12-hour days to assist his old colleagues in their hunt for survivors.

When the towers fell, three hundred and forty-three firemen were killed. During his early years as a fireman, he characterized the situation as “extremely messy.” There are a lot of noises, one can hear glass breaking, and one is wearing a mask, so one can’t see anything. It’s difficult to define, but all of one’s senses are engaged. One’s adrenaline is surging, and one’s mind is attempting to concentrate. Because he wasn’t there for publicity, there appear to be relatively few images of the star laboring relentlessly at the World Trade Center. When people attempted to photograph or interview him, he declined.

Later, he said that being a part of the rescue attempts was “a privilege.” It was nice to reconnect with the fire station he used to work at and some of the people he worked with. And that was quite beneficial to him since he didn’t think about it or feel it as much while working. It wasn’t until he came to a complete halt that he realized the gravity of what had occurred. It would have been far more difficult for him to go through if he hadn’t been able to do so. In an effort to inspire others to join the FDNY, the celebrity has now appeared in the HBO documentary A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY.

Most individuals first learned about Buscemi’s attempts until a post on the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page announced it in September 2013. They wrote: Do you know who this man is? Do you know what his name is? Many folks understand he’s an actor named Steve Buscemi. What few people know is that he was once one of New York’s Bravest. In 1976, at the age of 18, Steve Buscemi took the FDNY civil service test. Steve Buscemi joined the New York City Fire Department in 1980. For four years, he worked on one of the FDNY’s busiest engines, Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan’s Little Italy. He then quit the fire department to pursue a career as an actor, writer, and director.

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Brother Buscemi returned to FDNY Engine 55 after 9/11/2001. On September 12, 2001, and for several days thereafter, Brother Steve worked 12-hour hours with other firemen excavating and sifting through the World Trade Center wreckage in search of survivors. There are very few images and no interviews since he refused them. He wasn’t there for attention.

In 2003, he also spoke at a union demonstration in favour of increased compensation for firefighters and the prevention of firehouse closures. Along with other firemen, he was arrested. Also not widely known is that in 2012, Brother Buscemi appeared at Breezy Point, New York, and discreetly aided in the clean-up activities following the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. When you’re a brother, you’re always a brother! Just to be clear. This man is a total badass!!! Brother Steve, tip of the hat!

Do you recognize this man? Do you know his name? Lots of people know he’s an actor, and that his name is Steve…

Posted by Brotherhood of Fire on Monday, 2 September 2013

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