Before he became a Golden Globe-winning and several time Emmy-nominated actor, Steve Buscemi was a New York City firefighter.
He joined the FDNY in 1980 and served 4 years before taking a leave of absence to pursue acting. He kept extending his leave.
On 9/11, Buscemi was on his way to JFK airport to take a flight to the Toronto Film Festival to promote his latest movie, the Holocaust drama The Grey Zone. Like the other stunned travelers, Buscemi watched the news in disbelief.
When the airport closed, Steve managed to get a taxi back to his home in Brooklyn, where like millions across the country, he watched the news non-stop, feeling helpless. When he heard news reports that hundreds of FDNY’ers were missing, Buscemi knew exactly what he had to do.
He grabbed his helmet and FDNY turncoat and took the F train into Manhattan, reporting for duty at his old firehouse, Engine 55. No one was there. They were all at Ground Zero.
Buscemi joined them there on the bucket brigade, passing debris in buckets down the line. Every once in a while, there’d be a call for a body bag. Buscemi remembers the bags didn’t feel full. They were body parts.