Steve Buscemi was at Ground Zero just hours after the 9/11 attacks trying to rescue survivors, and his heroism left him with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Throughout the 1980s, the celebrated actor worked as a firefighter with Engine 55 in New York City. When the attacks occurred, the Emmy-winning star quickly jumped in to help. While speaking on the podcast "WTF With Marc Maron," Steve said he called his old firehouse several times in the immediate aftermath of the attacks but couldn't get anyone to answer the telephone, so he headed toward the sight of the World Trade Center. There, he found his old company.
"I asked if I could join them," Steve, 63, recalled. "I could tell they were a little suspicious at first, but I worked with them that day."
The experience and memories of that day had a lasting effect on his mental health.
"I haven't experienced any health issues, and I get myself checked out — but definitely, yeah, post-traumatic stress? Absolutely," Steve said. "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."
The New York Post shared a grainy image of the actor at Ground Zero on 9/11, but few photos exist, as Steve reportedly refused pictures and interviews.
After five days of 12-hour shifts sifting through the wreckage, the "Reservoir Dogs" star said he was left "depressed."
"I was anxious," he said. "I couldn't make a simple decision."
Now, 20 years after that fateful day, he still thinks of his emotionally-draining experience with his fellow first responder heroes.
"There are times when I talk about 9/11 and I'm right back there," he said. "I start to get choked up and I realize, 'Ah, this is still a big part of me.' "