Firefighter dies fighting blaze on set of Ed Norton film in Harlem

Posted at 6:48 AM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 07:43:47-04

A New York City firefighter died late Thursday battling a blaze on the Harlem set of a film starring Ed Norton and Bruce Willis.

Michael R. Davidson, 37, was separated from his unit while fighting the five-alarm fire and later found unconscious, FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro said at a press conference early Friday morning. He was transported to Harlem Hospital, where he later died.

Two other firefighters suffered serious burns and three civilians experienced minor injuries, Nigro said.

Officials do not yet know what caused the fire, which has been extinguished.



"Firefighter Davidson bravely battled many fires and responded to countless calls for help from New Yorkers throughout his 15 years of dedicated service," Nigro said later in a statement. "Our department and our entire city mourn this tragic loss of a very brave Firefighter."

Davidson was cited for bravery and live-saving actions on four different occasions. He's the son of retired firefighter Robert Davidson, a 26-year FDNY veteran, and the brother of Eric Davidson, an 11-year veteran of Engine Company 88 in the Bronx.

Davidson is survived by his wife, Eileen, three daughters ages 7, 3 and 1, and a 6-year-old son. Arrangements are pending.

Norton reportedly was at the scene of the fire, which sparked around 11 p.m. He wrote the screenplay for "Motherless Brooklyn," which is based on a Jonathan Lethem novel. Filming was not occurring at the time of the fire.

Norton and the film's producers later released a statement confirming that the fire started in a cellar below where they'd been filming.

"Our deepest condolences to the family of Michael R. Davidson," the statement read. "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."