A New York City firefighter died late Thursday night fighting a blaze in Harlem on the set of a film starring Bruce Willis and Edward Norton.
Michael Davidson, 37, was a 15-year veteran of the FDNY. He was a husband and a father of four. According to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, Davidson was found unconscious after descending a stairway with other firefighters and becoming separated.
The fire broke out around 11:00 PM. in the basement of an unoccupied residential building, according to reports. The building was being used as a set for the film “Motherless Brooklyn,” which stars Willis, Willem Dafoe, Bobby Cannavale and Alec Baldwin and is written and directed by Norton.
The film’s producers released a statement saying:
Our deepest condolences to the family of Michael R. Davidson. A fire broke out tonight in the building where we were shooting our film. Our production was towards the end of our working day and had dozens of people working on site, when our crew noticed that smoke was coming into our set and into other parts of the building from below us. As soon as we noticed smoke coming up into our set, our crew immediately alerted the fire department and began alerting residents of the building even as we evacuated our cast and crew.
To our great sorrow, we now know that a NYC firefighter lost his life battling the blaze that grew, and our hearts ache in solidarity with his family. New York City firefighters truly are the bravest in the world. We watched firsthand with astonishment as they charged into the smoke to make sure all were safely out and then fought to contain the blaze and prevent it from spreading, putting their lives on the line as they do every day. The FDNY are real-life super-heroes and have our boundless admiration and gratitude.
Two other firefighters were injured in the blaze and listed in serious condition.