FDNY Engine 55 | Accidentally Wes Anderson

FDNY Engine 55

New York, New York | C.1887

Photo Credit: Nicholas Daleo

One of the first two fire companies to arrive at Ground Zero on 9/11, FDNY Engine 55 maintains an irrevocable place in the history of New York City. A lasting force in the city’s past and present, the company is located in Manhattan’s Little Italy and has served its diverse communities for more than a century.

Established in 1887, Engine 55 is known as Cinquantacinque, which is Italian for “Fifty-Five”. Its building is recognizable not only for its iconic red doors, but its architectural style. Designed by R.H. Robertson, the building represents a transition from Romanesque Revival to the more ornate Beaux Arts style, both popular in the late 19th century.

Years later, Engine 55 welcomed Manhattan’s first African American firefighter, Wesley Williams. Mr. Williams would go on to become the first African American supervisor in the NYC Fire Department after having worked as a fireman, lieutenant, and later Captain, all during his time with Engine 55.

On September 11, 2001, Engine 55 firefighters raced to the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Among them was actor Steve Buscemi, who had returned to his post as a NYC firefighter to aid in the rescue efforts. Buscemi, known for his success in Hollywood, worked as a firefighter at Engine 55 from 1980 to 1985. Many are unaware of his involvement on 9/11 as he declined photos and press during rescue efforts.

9/11 remains a painful stain on the fabric of America’s history, but the selflessness and heroism of New York’s Bravest remains a testament to their unwavering dedication to their community. Among the thousands of lives lost that day, five of them belonged to Engine 55: Lt. Freund, firefighters Faustino Apostol, Stephen Russell, Robert Lane, and Christopher Mozzillo.

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