Steve Buscemi is one of the most eclectic actors in the film industry, having participated in independent films, blockbusters, and low-budget productions. His face is unmistakable, and the truth is that he is a great actor.
Before becoming an actor, he recently said that he was part of the Manhattan Fire Department when he was very young, prompting him to help during the unfortunate events of September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers suffered a terrorist attack of magnitudes never imagined.
The idea of joining the fire department came from his father because it seemed like a good job with benefits, insurance, and a savings account. In addition, his father was a sanitation worker who provided civil service to the New York community.
Buscemi says that he found a sorority in the fire department, but soon began taking acting classes and appearing in movies, which caused him to retire from the force in 1984. However, 17 years later, he would wear his old suit against him again to join the rescue efforts of the Twin Towers.
Buscemi said that on September 12, he rejoined his old rescue company, and they began to remove debris under a large cloud of dust that hung over the site of the tragedy. He had to move a bag with a body that felt very light on one occasion since surely the corpse was in pieces.
The actor worked less than a week on the site, but says that the cloud of dust that enveloped them was really harmful and that someone commented that it would possibly kill them in 20 years. However, it has not been that long, since many cases of people with cancer have been reported for years because they were exposed to that dust.
After the 9/11 experience, Buscemi suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and the inability to make easy decisions. In addition to the damage to physical health, the mental health of the surviving firefighters and workers of the Towers was affected, who blamed themselves for not having been of more help or having entrusted their tasks to someone else.
In fact, it felt good to be there. I was on the site for less than a week, but it wasn't until I got home that the magnitude of it all caught up with me. I was already seeing a therapist, and although it was almost impossible to process the enormity of what had happened, having someone to sit with all the feelings was a comfort. It's not something that first responders usually get. Accepting vulnerability is difficult for anyone, but especially for people whose primary identity is as a protector.
After the events of 9/11, various foundations were formed to help victims and rescuers. The company in which Buscemi worked set up a foundation called Friends of Firefighters, which specializes in providing psychological help to firefighters affected by the work of those days. The actor is a volunteer and donor of funds.