New York City firefighter Michael Davidson, father of four, died battling a fifth-alarm fire in Harlem Thursday night. A 15-year veteran of the FDNY, decorated numerous times for bravery in the line of duty, came from a family of firefighters.
Last Call for Davidson, the ‘Supreme Sacrifice,’ firefighters and police shared widely across social media their grief and honored his service: ‘Fidelis Ad Mortem,” faithful unto death, an NYPD motto.
Fearless Firefighter Michael Davidson Died Battling the 5th Alarm Inferno
Michael Davidson went into the burning building as the nozzelman, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters, but the fire was “too heavy” and the team had to retreat with Davidson becoming separated, according to CBS News.
A mayday call came from inside the 773 St. Nicholas Ave. building. Nigro said Davidson was located “unconscious on the floor and despite the best efforts of the FDNY and EMTs, they were unable to revive him.”
Nigro said Davidson, “who was assigned to the nozzle – with the responsibility of operating a hoseline to suppress the fire – became separated from his fellow Firefighters inside the rapidly deteriorating fire conditions. After a desperate search to locate Firefighter Davidson, he was transported to Harlem Hospital where he died.”
The call came in shortly before 11 p.m. with Harlem Engine Company 69 responding to a fire in the basement of the West Harlem neighborhood known as Sugar Hill. A movie was being filmed in the unoccupied near-100 year old five-story residential building but officials said no one was inside at the time of the fire.
A statement from the producers of the movie “Motherless Brooklyn” however said the film’s crew had wrapped work late when they “noticed smoke coming up into our set, our crew immediately alerted the fire department and began alerting residents of the building even as we evacuated our cast and crew.
Some 200 firefighters and police responded to the scene and the FDNY reported the blaze under control by 2:30 a.m
Early Friday afternoon, fire department investigators arrived to the tragic csene.
Michael Davidson Was a Married Father of Four Children
A firefighter for 15 years, the 37-year-old was a father of four children, the eldest just 7. The FDNY said Davidson served heroically and was decorated for bravery on four separate occasions. Davidson is survived by his wife Eileen, his children and a large and loving family.
Nigro said in a statement that Davidson “…bravely battled many fires and responded to countless calls for help from New Yorkers throughout his 15 years of dedicated service. Our department and our entire city mourn this tragic loss of a very brave Firefighter.”
Davidson, who began his career with the FDNY in May of 2003, was father three daughters, ages 7, 3, and 1 and a son, age 6. He and his family lived in Floral Park.
Davidson Was From a Family of Firefighters
Davidson, cited for bravery, is the 1,150th New York firefighter to die in the line of duty in the history of the department, according to the FDNY, called the “Supreme Sacrifice”, was not the only member of the Davidson family to work among the Bravest.
Michael Davidson’s brother, Eric serves in Engine 88, Ladder 38 in the Belmont section of the Bronx. Micahel’s father Robert, a retired 26-year veteran of the FDNY served at the same station as his son, Engine 69.
Fire, Police & City Officials As Well As Friends & Acquaintances Posted Grief-Filled Condolences & Tributes
NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio tweeted early this morning, “Our city lost a hero tonight. Firefighter Michael R. Davidson was a 15-year veteran of @FDNY. The prayers of 8.5 million New Yorkers are with his wife, his four children and his loved ones.”
DeBlasio’s spokesman was at the hospital when Davidson’s mother arrived and posted a Tweet since removed that the NY Post reported said, “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 Harlem Fire Where Davidson Lost His Life Was the Site of a Movie Being Filmed Starrring Edward Norton & Bruce Willis
The St. Nicholas Avenue building was home to the former St. Nick’s Jazz club. The movie, ‘Motherless Brooklyn,’ which was scheduled to be released in 2019, has Norton as writer, director and star. The film also has Willem Dafoe, Alec Baldwin and Willis in the cast. Baldwin, who uses his Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation twitter account, tweeted:
The film’s IMDb page describes the flick as “set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, “Motherless Brooklyn” follows Lionel Essrog (Norton), a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome, as he ventures to solve his friend’s murder. Armed only with a few clues and the powerful engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance.”
Local media reported that law enforcement sources said the film crew was setting up to shoot outside when Norton saw the smoke and altered police. A neighbor told reporters that Norton “looked pretty upset,”
CBS News reported
Film producers issued a statement saying, “Our deepest condolences to the family of Michael R. Davidson. A fire broke out tonight in the building where we were shooting our film. Our production was towards the end of our working day and had dozens of people working on site, when our crew noticed that smoke was coming into our set and into other parts of the building from below us. As soon as we noticed smoke coming up into our set, our crew immediately alerted the fire department and began alerting residents of the building even as we evacuated our cast and crew.
“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. 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.”