Firefighter Michael Davidson died late Thursday fighting a fire that broke out in a Harlem building where filming was being done for the movie "Motherless Brooklyn."
Edward Norton is directing and starring in the adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's novel. The cast also includes Bruce Willis, Leslie Mann, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Cherry Jones, Ethan Suplee, Fisher Stevens, Michael K. Williams, and Bobby Cannavale.
According to the New York Post, Norton is the one who alerted authorities when he smelled smoke. The fire broke out in the building's basement, which was empty at the time, but filming was being done just outside.
Authorities said Davidson was nozzleman as firefighters went down the stairs to fight the blaze.
"The fire was too heavy," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters. "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."
Davidson, 37, is survived by his wife, Eileen, and four children.
#NYPD & all NYers join every member of @FDNY in mourning the loss of Firefighter Michael R. Davidson, 37, who died battling a blaze in Harlem last night. The 15-year veteran leaves behind his wife Eileen & 4 children. He is the 1,150th #NYC firefighter to die in the line of duty. pic.twitter.com/HevFqFkvvU— Commissioner O'Neill (@NYPDONeill) March 23, 2018
Officials added that three civilians suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Area resident Daquan Evans told the NY Post, "That actor Ed Norton walked right by. He looked pretty upset. This is crazy, this fire. You think a movie comes up here and it is good for the neighborhood. Not a fire."
Norton and the "Motherless Brooklyn" producers shared a statement:
"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."
Set in 1950s New York, "Motherless Brooklyn" follows Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette's Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis).
"Motherless Brooklyn" is scheduled for release in 2019.
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