NY Firefighter Killed in Blaze at Set of Edward Norton, Bruce Willis Film ‘Motherless Brooklyn’

A fire broke out in the basement of a building being used to shoot the film “Motherless Brooklyn,” which Norton is directing

edward norton motherless brooklyn nyfd firefighter
Getty Images; NYFD

A fire Thursday night in a Harlem building being used for the Edward Norton-directed film “Motherless Brooklyn” night claimed the life of one NYC firefighter who responded to the blaze and seriously wounded two other responders.

Three civilians were also injured, according to the Associated Press.

Firefighter Michael R. Davidson, 37, was “critically injured” in the 5-alarm fire and died later at Harlem Hospital, the New York City Fire Department announced early Friday morning.


The fire began in the basement of the building, according to the New York Post. Film shooting was not taking place at the time of the fire, though crew were present when the fire broke out.

The producers of “Motherless Brooklyn” released a statement describing the fire, which crew noticed when smoke began billowing up from the cellar below. The statement also offered condolences to Davidson’s family.

“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 read, per the New York Times. “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.”

The five-story building, in Harlem, was once home to St. Nick’s Jazz Pub, which closed in 2011. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

“Motherless Brooklyn” is an adaptation of a novel of the same name by Jonathan Lethem about a detective suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome.

The film is written and directed by Ed Norton and stars Norton in the lead role alongside Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe, and is planned for release from Warner Bros. in 2019.