Mourners gather for funeral of firefighter killed on Harlem film set

Eileen Davidson, wife of New York firefighter Michael R. Davidson, holds daughter Emily as she and family members follow the casket of her husband down the stairs at his funeral at St. Patricks Cathedral in New York City on Tuesday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

March 27 (UPI) — Thousands gathered Tuesday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for the funeral of firefighter Michael Davidson, who died last week battling a blaze on a Harlem movie set.

A flag-draped New York Fire Department truck carried Davidson’s coffin to the cathedral as mourners gathered on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Dozens of motorcycles escorted the truck to its destination and officials shut down portions of the street.

Fire officials posthumously promoted Davidson to lieutenant.

“Now this whole city knows that Lt. Michael Davidson was a hero of the highest order,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in the eulogy. “Michael made this city great through his actions every day.”

Davidson, 27, died Thursday fighting the fire at a historic 1920 building, which was not fire resistant. Filmmakers were using the vacant building to shoot the movie Motherless Brooklyn, starring Bruce WillisEdward NortonWillem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin. Norton attended Davidson’s wake Sunday.

“Lieutenant Michael Davidson was a natural born nozzle man,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at Tuesday’s funeral.

New York City’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner said Davidson, the first one into the building to fight the fire, died of smoke inhalation. He became separated from his fellow firefighters during the blaze and emergency workers found him unconscious in the cellar of the building.

The FDNY was investigating the cause of the blaze.

Davidson is survived by his wife, Eileen Davidson, and their four children. His family planned to have have his body cremated Tuesday afternoon at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.


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