March 23 (UPI) — A 15-year veteran of New York City’s fire department died and several others were injured in a fire at a movie set late Thursday in Manhattan.
Authorities said firefighter Michael Davidson died from injuries he received while battling the Harlem blaze. Two other firefighters are being treated for serious burns.
The fire broke out around 11 p.m. Thursday in the basement of an unoccupied residential building used to film “Motherless Brooklyn,” a film starring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin. The building, designated as a New York City landmark, was constructed in 1920 and was not fire-resistant.
At one point, firefighters were told to evacuate the building but Davidson became separated from the rest of the unit, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
Davidson, found critically injured and unconscious, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was the 1,150th firefighter to die in the line of duty in the history of the FDNY.
“Our entire department, our entire city, mourns this horrific loss of a very brave firefighter,” Nigro said. “Our hearts and our prayers go out to the family and may God rest his soul.”
Eric Phillips, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s press secretary, tweeted about the death: “You haven’t heard a scream until you’ve heard the scream of a mother who’s seen her son give his life to protect us”
The film’s producers issued a statement saying as production winding down for the day, the crew noticed smoke was coming into our set and into other parts of the building from below.
“Our deepest condolences to the family of Michael R. Davidson. … 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.”