21 years after 9/11, we remember Steve Buscemi's heroism alongside New York's Bravest

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By stefan armitage

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Today marks 21 years since one of the most horrific terrorist attacks the world has ever seen: 9/11.

The event claimed the lives of 2,977 people and injured - at least - an additional 25,000, the Washington Post reports, forever changing anti-terrorism legislation around the world.

The devastation to New York was so extreme that people from all walks of life tried to do their bit to help their city during its darkest hour, including Hollywood actor Steve Buscemi, who had trained as a firefighter before embarking on his big-screen career.

Buscemi worked as a firefighter in downtown Manhattan in the 1980s, and following the attacks, he donned his uniform once again to work 12-hour shifts in the grueling search for survivors.

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Credit: Julie Edwards / Alamy

Last year, during an interview on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, Buscemi reflected on his experiences of that fateful day.

"I just didn’t have any information," he said. "I kept calling the firehouse the day before and of course there was no answer. Because I knew that they would be there. And then I eventually learned that five of them were missing. One of them was a good friend of mine I used to work with.

"I was driven to the site that day, walked around for hours, and then found my company, found Engine 55 working there. I asked if I could join them. I could tell they were a little suspicious at first, but I worked with them that day."

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Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy

The Fargo star volunteered for several more days, admitting that he was "grateful" for the experience.

"I was privileged enough to have access to the site and be in the thick of it, and just experience the humanity of what was going on there," he said.

Maron then asked the actor if he'd suffered any health implications as a result of his work alongside New York's Bravest, to which Buscemi replied: "I haven’t experienced any health issues, and I get myself checked out, but definitely... Post-traumatic stress? Absolutely.

"I was only there for like five days, but when I stopped going and tried to just live my life again, it was really, really hard. I was depressed, I was anxious, I couldn’t make a simple decision. All those things. It’s still with me. There are times when I talk about 9/11 and I’m right back there. I start to get choked up and I realise, ah, this is still a big part of me."

Per the Independent, Buscemi said of his efforts at the time:

"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."

The actor's heroic actions were once again brought to light by the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page in 2013, who wrote under a picture of the actor: "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.

size-large wp-image-1263168846
Credit: Glasshouse Images / Alamy

"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."

The post continued: "Very few photographs and no interviews exist because he declined them. He wasn't there for the publicity."

When he did eventually open up about his work with New York's Bravest,  the now 62-year-old actor told CBS News: "Firefighters are great at helping others, they're great at helping each other. But they're not always - they don't always know that they, themselves, are in need.

"Their first reaction would be: 'Oh, the next guy has it worse, you know?'"

A total of 343 firefighters made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11 to serve and protect others, the Independent confirmed, and their sacrifice will be remembered forever.

Despite moving into the world of acting, Buscemi has remained very much involved in causes that are dear to the hearts of New York City's firefighters.

He has spoken at union rallies and even hosted the HBO documentary, A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY.

The actor also still serves on the Board of Advisors for Friends of Firefighters, an organization that helps New York-based firefighters and their families.

Featured image credit: WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy

21 years after 9/11, we remember Steve Buscemi's heroism alongside New York's Bravest

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

Today marks 21 years since one of the most horrific terrorist attacks the world has ever seen: 9/11.

The event claimed the lives of 2,977 people and injured - at least - an additional 25,000, the Washington Post reports, forever changing anti-terrorism legislation around the world.

The devastation to New York was so extreme that people from all walks of life tried to do their bit to help their city during its darkest hour, including Hollywood actor Steve Buscemi, who had trained as a firefighter before embarking on his big-screen career.

Buscemi worked as a firefighter in downtown Manhattan in the 1980s, and following the attacks, he donned his uniform once again to work 12-hour shifts in the grueling search for survivors.

size-large wp-image-1263125852
Credit: Julie Edwards / Alamy

Last year, during an interview on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, Buscemi reflected on his experiences of that fateful day.

"I just didn’t have any information," he said. "I kept calling the firehouse the day before and of course there was no answer. Because I knew that they would be there. And then I eventually learned that five of them were missing. One of them was a good friend of mine I used to work with.

"I was driven to the site that day, walked around for hours, and then found my company, found Engine 55 working there. I asked if I could join them. I could tell they were a little suspicious at first, but I worked with them that day."

size-large wp-image-1263125851
Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy

The Fargo star volunteered for several more days, admitting that he was "grateful" for the experience.

"I was privileged enough to have access to the site and be in the thick of it, and just experience the humanity of what was going on there," he said.

Maron then asked the actor if he'd suffered any health implications as a result of his work alongside New York's Bravest, to which Buscemi replied: "I haven’t experienced any health issues, and I get myself checked out, but definitely... Post-traumatic stress? Absolutely.

"I was only there for like five days, but when I stopped going and tried to just live my life again, it was really, really hard. I was depressed, I was anxious, I couldn’t make a simple decision. All those things. It’s still with me. There are times when I talk about 9/11 and I’m right back there. I start to get choked up and I realise, ah, this is still a big part of me."

Per the Independent, Buscemi said of his efforts at the time:

"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."

The actor's heroic actions were once again brought to light by the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page in 2013, who wrote under a picture of the actor: "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.

size-large wp-image-1263168846
Credit: Glasshouse Images / Alamy

"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."

The post continued: "Very few photographs and no interviews exist because he declined them. He wasn't there for the publicity."

When he did eventually open up about his work with New York's Bravest,  the now 62-year-old actor told CBS News: "Firefighters are great at helping others, they're great at helping each other. But they're not always - they don't always know that they, themselves, are in need.

"Their first reaction would be: 'Oh, the next guy has it worse, you know?'"

A total of 343 firefighters made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11 to serve and protect others, the Independent confirmed, and their sacrifice will be remembered forever.

Despite moving into the world of acting, Buscemi has remained very much involved in causes that are dear to the hearts of New York City's firefighters.

He has spoken at union rallies and even hosted the HBO documentary, A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY.

The actor also still serves on the Board of Advisors for Friends of Firefighters, an organization that helps New York-based firefighters and their families.

Featured image credit: WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy