Steve Buscemi, The Retired Firefighter Who Joined His Old Unit To Help During 9/11

By : Alex Watt |


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Steve Buscemi – the actor with a heart of gold.

With yesterday marking the 14th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, it’s worth remembering that the 57-year-old former firefighter with the craziest eyes in the business stepped up in the aftermath of 9/11 in 2001 to lend a helping hand to responders.

In September 2013, a post on the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page revealed how Boardwalk Empire star Buscemi joined up with his old Manhattan unit to work shifts and hunt for survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

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Underneath a photo of Buscemi, they wrote:

Do you recognize this man? Do you know his name?

Lots of people know he’s an actor, and that his name is Steve Buscemi.

What very few people realize is that he was once one of New York’s Bravest.

In 1976 Steve Buscemi took the FDNY civil service test when he was just 18 years old. In 1980 Steve Buscemi became a New York City Firefighter.

For four years, Buscemi served on one of FDNY’s busiest, Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan’s Little Italy. He later left the fire service to become a successful actor, writer and director.

After 9/11/2001… Brother Buscemi returned to FDNY Engine 55.

On September 12, 2001 and for several days following Brother Steve worked 12-hour shifts alongside other firefighters digging and sifting through the rubble from the World Trade Center looking for survivors.

Very few photographs and no interviews exist because he declined them. He wasn’t there for the publicity.

In 2003 he also gave a speech at a union rally supporting higher wages for firefighters and to stop fire houses from closing. He got arrested along with other firefighters.

Also not very well known is that in 2012 Brother Buscemi showed up in Breezy Point, NY and quietly assisted in the clean-up efforts of the damage and mass destruction left by Super Storm Sandy.

Once a brother, always a brother!

Just so we’re clear… this guy is a Badass!!!

Tip of the helmet Brother Steve!

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In the September 11 attacks and their aftermath, 343 firefighters died in their bid to protect and rescue others and many FDNY personnel are still suffering from illness, injury and trauma. In the decade-and-a-half following 9/11, thousands of responders have been diagnosed with cancer linked to the toxins they were exposed to at the Ground Zero site.

Buscemi also serves on the Board of Advisors for Friends of Firefighters, an organisation which looks out for the welfare of New York City’s firefighters and their families. But he went above and beyond in the aftermath of the attacks, throwing himself into the fray.

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Speaking about his involvement at the time, Buscemi said:

It was a privilege to be able to do it. It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside. And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn’t really think about it as much, feel it as much.

It wasn’t until I stopped that I really felt the full impact of what had happened. It would have been much harder for me to get through it if I hadn’t been able to do that.

What an absolute boss!


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