The producers of Edward Norton’s upcoming movie Motherless Brooklyn have shared their condolences after a New York City firefighter died while fighting a fire on the film’s Harlem set.
The FDNY firefighter, 37-year-old Michael Davidson, was killed on Thursday night after a fire broke out in the basement of a Harlem townhouse where actor-director Norton and his crew were filming.
In a statement obtained by EW, the movie’s producers, who have canceled filming on Friday while next steps are worked out, said the crew alerted the fire department and building residents and began evacuating after noticing that “smoke was coming into our set and into other parts of the building from below us.”
Firefighters arrived shortly before 11 p.m., but the fire spread quickly, an FDNY spokesperson told the NY Daily News. Davidson was among the first to brave the flames but became separated from the rest of his unit. He was found unconscious and transported to Harlem Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“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 film’s producers said in the statement. “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.”
Motherless Brooklyn, an adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel, is being directed by Norton, who also adapted the screenplay, and stars Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, and Leslie Mann. Norton and his crew had been filming at the building, which was formerly home to Harlem’s famed St. Nick’s Jazz Pub, for about two weeks and had hung a new sign out front for “King Rooster Jazz Club,” according to the NY Daily News. The movie is slated for a 2019 release.