Tragedy has struck the set of Edward Norton‘s new movie, Motherless Brooklyn.
On Friday, March 23, 2018, FDNY officials released a statement on their Facebook page, announcing that firefighter Michael R. Davidson, a 37-year-old father of four, died Thursday night after battling a raging blaze, which broke out in an unoccupied residential building in Harlem that was being used as a set for the film.
Noting that Davidson had “bravely served the Department for 15 years” and “was cited for bravery on four separate occasions,” the statement revealed that he had been “critically injured” while fighting the rapidly spreading fire and was “transported to Harlem Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”
According to NBC New York, two other firefighters suffered burns, while three civilians were injured.
— FDNY (@FDNY) March 23, 2018
Norton, who wrote, directs, and stars in the film, and his producers have since expressed their condolences to Davidson’s family. According to their statement, the production crew “immediately alerted the fire department” after discovering smoke on set, as the cast and crew evacuated the five-story building, which was formerly home to the famous St. Nick’s Jazz Pub (via E! News).
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
According to a resident in the neighborhood, Norton understandably appeared shaken at the scene, telling the New York 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.”
According to The New York Times, it is unknown at the time of this writing how the fire started.
Davidson is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their four young children. Our thoughts are with his loved ones during this difficult time.