A big budget movie shoot took a horrible turn on Thursday night when a huge blaze broke out on set, killing one firefighter and injuring two others. The fire started in the basement of the Harlem building where film crews were shooting scenes for a new Edward Norton and Bruce Willis movie, “Motherless Brooklyn.”
Fifteen year veteran city firefighter Michael Davidson, 37, died after he was reported missing during the fire. According to authorities, Davidson was found unconscious and immediately taken to Harlem Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
New York Daily News reported that the fire spread very quickly through the historic 1920s building.
"My heart is broken," said a survivor of the Harlem blaze that claimed the life of a firefighter. "I'm so sorry or his family. My heart goes out to them." https://t.co/QJSuVXEpiJ
— New York Post (@nypost) March 23, 2018
As the nozzle man, Davidson was one of the first to brave the blaze before other firefighters from his crew — Harlem’s Engine Company 69 — arrived on the scene.
“They went down the stairs to fight the fire with Davidson as nozzleman,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters Friday.
“The fire was too heavy. 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,” he added.
Davidson, 37, leaves behind his wife and four daughters.
A New York City firefighter has died after a huge fire broke out in a building in Harlem that is thought to have been in use as a movie set. The @FDNY tweeted that the blaze broke out about 11 p.m. on Thursday. https://t.co/t3OBOtKkIK pic.twitter.com/CbYtG5Q9GS
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 23, 2018
“He also has a brother, Eric, who is a city fireman in Engine 88. Their dad, Robert, is retired FDNY, also from Engine 69,” the New York Post reported.
Two other firefighters suffered serious burns from the blaze, but their wounds were not considered life-threatening, the Post reported.
Three civilians also suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
According to the FDNY, Davidson had been cited for bravery four times in his career and is the 1,150th New York firefighter to die in the line of duty in the history of the department.
The flags outside City Hall have been lowered to half-staff to honor FDNY firefighter Michael Davidson, a 15-year veteran of the department and father of four, who died Thursday night battling a massive blaze in Harlem. pic.twitter.com/qnQJvesAGu
— Spectrum News NY1 (@NY1) March 23, 2018
The blaze reportedly began around 11:00 p.m. and was under control by 2:30 a.m. after being battled by around 175 firefighters.
Investigators are still looking into how the fire started.
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