NYC firefighter dies battling blaze on Harlem movie set

Firefighters work on the scene of a fire Friday, March 23, 2018 that begun overnight within the Harlem local of new york. Firefighter Michael R. Davidson of Engine company 69, died after he became separated from his unit as they battled the fierce, smoky blaze that broke out within the basement of a former Harlem jazz membership being used as a film set for "Motherless Brooklyn," directed via Edward Norton. (Jennifer Peltz/associated Press)

via Colleen lengthy and Jennifer Peltz | AP through Colleen lengthy and Jennifer Peltz | AP March 23 at 7:38 PM

manhattan — a new York city firefighter died early Friday scuffling with a fierce blaze on a film set after getting separated from his fellow firefighters within the thick smoke.

The fireplace begun in the cellar of a former jazz club because the crew of "Motherless Brooklyn," directed with the aid of Edward Norton, changed into nearing the end of its working day at eleven p.m. Thursday. Flames poured out the windows as firefighters stormed into the five-story Harlem building, dumping water on the blaze to get it beneath control.

Firefighter Michael R. Davidson of Engine Co. 69 changed into assigned to the nozzle on the lead hose-line and pushed into the burning basement.

but the blaze became too a great deal. Firefighters had to lower back out, and the 15-year fireplace department veteran changed into separated from his colleagues. Firefighters searched desperately for him, and he became found unconscious after suffering severe smoke inhalation, hearth Commissioner Daniel Nigro referred to. Davidson turned into stated useless at a sanatorium shortly after middle of the night.

"Our metropolis misplaced a hero," Mayor bill de Blasio pointed out in a tweet before traveling the fireplace scene Friday evening. The Democrat referred to as Davidson's loss of life "a heartbreaking tragedy for the entire metropolis."

Davidson, a 2d-technology firefighter, had been noted 4 times for bravery all over 15 years on the job.

The building become being used to movie the adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel of the equal identify. Norton was directing and starring, along with Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe and Alec 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley.

neighborhood resident Daquan Evans, 28, told the new york post he noticed Norton on the scene.

"He looked fairly upset," Evans stated. "this is loopy, this fireplace. You feel a movie comes up right here and it is respectable for the local. now not a fire . . . damn."

The reason for the 5-alarm hearth became under investigation. The building, built in 1920, is a landmark and was home to the previous St. Nick's Jazz Pub, a venerable bar that became closed in 2011.

Neighbor Joan Adams observed she noticed white smoke, then black, billowing from basement windows in the entrance of the constructing. but when she went into her yard, two buildings away, she could see flames.

"It became definitely frightening," she observed.

The movie's producers observed crews automatically referred to as the hearth department once they noticed smoke coming into the set and other parts of the building.

"We watched firsthand with astonishment as they charged into the smoke to be certain all have been safely out after which fought to include the blaze and forestall it from spreading, inserting their lives on the road as they do every day," the producers observed in a statement sending condolences to the firefighter's family.

historical past actor Ambroise Ironfence stated the movie crew wasn't the usage of any open fire all over the shoot and the building's vigour wasn't on.

"all of the device we had been the usage of ... the energy came from the truck backyard," he informed WCBS-television.

The film crew didn't want a metropolis movie construction let to work at the constructing because it was a personal residence. The filmmakers did need a highway parking let and had one, officials observed.

The constructing owner's mobile number wasn't accepting messages Friday; nor turned into the cellphone for a lawyer who has represented him in actual-estate circumstances. An electronic mail message to the owner failed.

Neighbors stated the movie crew had installation a sign that read "King hen Jazz club" and began filming about two weeks ago. cars from the Nineteen Fifties period lined the road.

Douglas Miller, who lives throughout the highway in a 2nd-floor condominium, talked about the fireplace traveled fast and went the entire option to the roof. He saw firefighters carry out considered one of their personal, on a stretcher, and check out to resuscitate him and give him oxygen.

"They tried to keep him, but they couldn't," Miller referred to, and soon the firefighter become being rushed to a health center.

Later Friday, Davidson's body became taken to a suburban funeral domestic in a procession of fire vans, getting somber salutes from firefighters stationed along the route.

Davidson, 37, changed into the son and brother of new york city firefighters. His father is now retired.

"You haven't heard a scream until you've heard the scream of a mother who's viewed her son supply his lifestyles to offer protection to us," tweeted the mayor's spokesman, Eric Phillips.

Davidson leaves behind a wife, Eileen, and 4 toddlers under eight. Neighbors described him as a salt-of-the-earth guy, a pretty good pal, father and husband.

"He become a good guy — he went up and down and did everybody's sidewalk within the snow. He changed into fiddling with the youngsters in the snow the previous day," observed Joanne Caldon.

Two different firefighters suffered burns and had been in serious condition, and three others had been injured, Nigro referred to.


This story has been corrected to demonstrate the closing identify of Mayor bill de Blasio's spokesman is Phillips, now not Philips.

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