NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Sunday, Broadway’s best will be celebrated during the Tony Awards.

This year, one group of honorees will get a unique and special honor, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported Tuesday.

They are the unsung heroes of the “Great White Way.” The FDNY’s Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 is located on Eighth Avenue and 48th street in the heart of the Theater District. And now they’re in the spotlight with a special Tony honor for contributions to the theater industry.

“It caught us by surprise. It’s quite unexpected, but we appreciate the recognition,” the FDNY’s Tom Meara said.

(credit: CBS 2)

The firefighters play a role in getting musicals and plays up and running in a way many theatergoers may not know or think about. Their motto is “Never Missed A Performance.”

“Any show that opens up there’s a fire inspection before the show can open up to the public. We do a walkthrough … for everything that’s involved in the show, all the production material and everything like that,” the FDNY’s John McGee said. “There’s a whole process to go through to make sure the show is safe for the public that’s coming to view it.”

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Standing tall in the face of tragedy, this firehouse lost 15 brothers on Sept. 11, 2001. They were New York’s Bravest, who died serving the city. In the days, months and years after the terror attacks, the Broadway community, along with countless other people, helped these heroes heal.

“I have to say that the theater industry as a whole gave us great support in the aftermath, in the days following,” Meara said. “They helped us get back on our feet. They were there for us, whatever we needed. Just moral support, always stopping by the firehouse to see how we were doing. Just type of support knowing they had our back, greatly appreciated.”

Even today, tourists and theatergoers stop by to pay tribute and never forget.

“Being in this area, we’re like the unofficial visitors’ center for the Theater District and Times Square,” the FDNY’s Mark Foris said. “The members of 54 and 4 are used to it and they seem to enjoy it. The interaction with the tourists and the trades and the people passing by.

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And this company of firefighters, with the fastest response time in the FDNY, will be recognized for keeping New York City safe and the Theater District thriving.

“It’s nice to be appreciated for all the work that all the companies in the surrounding areas do to help keep everybody safe here, so deeply appreciated,” McGee said.

And as they say on Broadway, “The show must go on.”

Don’t forget to watch the Tony Awards on CBS2 on Sunday night at 8 p.m., live from Radio City Music Hall.


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