A veteran FDNY firefighter was killed fighting a five-alarm fire on a Harlem movie set for a film starring Bruce Willis and Edward Norton.
Two other firefighters were seriously injured, while three civilians suffered minor injuries.
According to WABC 7, Firefighter Michael Davidson, a 15-year veteran of the department on Engine 69 in Manhattan and father of four children, became separated from his crew while conditions deteriorated during a basement fire in a building on St. Nicholas Avenue at about 11 pm. The fire was in the vacant St. Nick’s Jazz Pub which closed in 2011. The building was being used to film “Motherless Brooklyn,” a screen play by Edward Norton set in the 1950s.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, said in a statement to the press that Davidson, 37, was the nozzleman as a crew went down stairs to fight the fire.
“The fire was too heavy,” Nigro said. “They were forced to retreat and as they backed out, he (Davidson) got separated from the rest of the unit. He was found unconscious on the floor and despite the best efforts of the FDNY and EMTs, they were unable to revive him. …our entire city mourns his loss.”
The New York Post reported that a film crew was setting up to shoot outside the five-story building when Norton saw smoke coming from the basement and alerted a nearby police officer.
During the firefight, Davidson was reported missing briefly after a mayday call was made, according to the New York Post. He was found and transported to Harlem Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Two other firefighters suffered burns and were listed in serious condition at Weill Cornell Medical Center with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, the Post reported.
About 200 firefighters battled the blaze which was declared under control at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday, the Post reported. The cause of the blaze is being investigated. Filming was not occurring at the time of the fire, according to news reports.
Firefighter Davidson of Floral Park, New York, is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their four children; three daughters, ages 7, 3, and 1 and a son, age 6. Firefighter Davidson is the son of retired Firefighter Robert Davidson, who served the Department for 26 years (primarily in the same firehouse as his son); and the brother of Firefighter Eric Davidson, an 11-year veteran, of Engine Company 88 in the Bronx. Davidson had been cited for bravery four times in his career.
He is the 1,150th New York firefighter to die in the line of duty in the history of the department, according to the FDNY.
Funeral arrangements are pending.