By John M. Malecky March, 2017
A Good Job
Stories of the FDNY
HBO Documentary Films
FSP Books & Videos
188 Central Street, #4
Hudson, MA 01749-1330
Price: $19.00 (DVD)
This is a 60-minute DVD comprised of a large group of interviews with FDNY firefighters of many ranks, both active and retired, about the memories of their careers, including the good times, the bad times, the happy and sad moments, times of transition and the personal effects that the ordeals and experiences left on them.
The interviews are done by Steve Buscami, an award winning actor and director, who prior to his acting career, had taken the test for firefighter in 1976 and spent four years at Engine-55 in the Little Italy section of Manhattan. Steve returned to Engine-55 after 9/11 to lend a hand on “the pile," in search of missing members.
The interviews address “the war years,” named for the fires in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including the Madison Square Tragedy which claimed 12 firefighters in 1966 and the Waldbaum’s roof collapse in Brooklyn in 1978, which claimed six members. The advent of female firefighters, black firefighters, self-contained breathing apparatus and new bunker clothing is discussed. Two retired female firefighters, including a battalion chief, give details of their indoctrination and treatment when women first got assigned to stations.
The Happyland Social Club fire in 1989 is discussed and of course, the World Trade Center in 2001. Some of those interviewed lost family members, including two sons of Deputy Chief Ray Downey. The firehouse kitchen is touched on where jokes and horseplay abound, especially with probationary firefighters.
Retired commissioner Sal Cassano and retired Deputy Chief Vincent Dunn are interviewed. Dunn could have lost his life at the Madison Square fire with the difference of his order by the deputy chief and the order given to Engine-18. If those orders were reversed, we would never have benefited from his textbooks, one of which was “The Collapse of Burning Buildings!”
I believe this video will keep your undivided attention for it's duration and help both firefighters and non firefighters to appreciate what working in a burning building is like, realizing that the horrors of the job can stay with the person for many years to come.