AS the world reeled from the worst terror attacks in American history, a Hollywood star quietly joined the 9/11 firefighters to search for survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
In a selfless act of courage on September 12, 2001, Steve Buscemi donned a uniform he hadn't worn in nearly two decades to help the brave New York firefighters.
The 63-year-old, known for playing eccentric characters and oddballs in Hollywood films, headed to the fire station where he worked in the early 1980s to join the desperate hunt for survivors.
The Reservoir Dogs and Boardwalk Empire star pulled 12-hour shifts for several days alongside other heroic emergency service personnel.
Very few photos exist of Buscemi working tirelessly at the World Trade Center as he wasn't there for publicity.
When people tried to snap photos or interview him – he outright refused.
At the time, he said of his efforts during the rescue: "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."
In 2013, the Brotherhood Of Fire Facebook page reminded people of Buscemi's brave efforts to assist his colleagues on the darkest day in American history.
Writing beneath a picture of him, they said: "Do you recognise 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 realise is that he was once one of New York's bravest.
“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."
Lots of people know he's an actor, and that his name is Steve Buscemi. What very few people realise is that he was once one of New York's bravest.
Although Buscemi left his role as a firefighter to pursue his career as an actor after finding fame, he always remained dedicated to the causes of New York firefighters.
He 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?'"
In 2014, the actor also hosted a HBO show, A Good Job, to encourage others to join the force.
Of the nearly 3,000 victims killed in the 9/11 attacks, 343 were firefighters.
Tragically, there were 75 firehouses in which at least one member was killed, and the FDNY also lost its department chief, and first deputy commissioner.
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