The vice president was speaking at an event honoring public safety officers, and went on to specifically praise the first-responders to the West, Texas, fertilizer factory fire. That blaze led to a massive explosion that left 12 firefighters dead.

"They suited up and they headed out, put on their equipment and they jumped. They jumped into the fray,” Biden said.

“Even then, some of the fire trucks ablaze, even then in the midst of the chaos, they held their ground. They contained the blaze within three hours. They never quit. They never quit. They never quit.”

Biden also said the administration would announce next week a federal assistance program for fallen public safety employees.

“That’s why I’m proud to tell you that on Monday — I don’t want to steal his thunder — but a guy’s been working around the clock to fix this. The attorney general of the United States will have an announcement to make fixing that problem, finally,” Biden said.

Biden also said he owed personal gratitude to firefighters for helping him through a snowstorm when he suffered an aneurysm in 1987 — and for saving his wife (and '67 Corvette) when lightning struck his Delaware home.