Firefighter who died battling blaze in building used for movie set honored as charred site set for demolition

A 37-year-old firefighter who died battling a blaze at a site where an Edward Norton and Bruce Willis movie was being filmed was eulogized while the building is set to get torn down. New York City Fire Department Lt. Michael Davidson, a husband and father of three, was honored by family and friends Sunday at the first of two wakes for the firefighting veteran who died after battling a fire at a Harlem building that formerly housed a jazz club. “Mike was just a terrific person,” Fire Capt. Robert Allen said at the wake on Long Island where hundreds of fellow firefighters lined the street saluting Davidson’s coffin as it was brought inside the funeral home. A second and final viewing was scheduled for today, with the funeral to be held Tuesday morning at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Davidson is survived by his wife, Eileen; daughters, ages 7, 3, and 1; and a son, age 6. He was recognized several times throughout his career for his bravery, the fire department wrote on Facebook. The cause of death was smoke inhalation, the New York City Medical Examiner’s office said Monday.

Meanwhile, the building that was the site of Thursday’s fire is set to demolished as early as today because it is “structurally unsound.” The building was being used as a movie set for a film starring Ed Norton and Bruce Willis.

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“It’s devastating to contemplate that one of the men we watched charging in there lost his life,” Norton wrote in a post on Instagram, adding that the film’s team “is committed to honoring him and assisting his family.” In a separate statement, the film’s team extends their “deepest condolences to the family of Michael R. Davidson” Firefighter dies fighting blaze on set of Ed Norton film in Harlem
Though officials have yet to determine the cause of the fire, a New York City official told WABC on Friday that it appears to have started in the rear of the cellar, and that the boiler and electrical system remain of interest to investigators. The boiler was being worked on earlier in the week of the fire.

Davidson was separated from his unit while fighting the five-alarm fire and was later found unconscious. He was transported to a hospital where he later died. A 15-year-veteran of the city fire department, Davidson was posthumously promoted on Saturday. “Our city lost a hero, and we honor the sacrifice of one of New York City’s bravest – his death is a heartbreaking tragedy and 8.5 million New Yorkers are in solidarity with his family,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Lieutenant Davidson was a natural-born leader and dedicated member of the FDNY who died fighting and serving our city,” the city’s fire commissioner said. “He had all the qualities of an officer and more – his promotion is well-deserved.”

 

Donations to support Davidson’s family are being collected through the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which has pledged $100,000 to help pay off the family’s mortgage.

Donations to support Davidson’s family are being collected through the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which has pledged $100,000 to help pay off the family’s mortgage.

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