Firefighter Michael Davidson Dies Battling Harlem Fire

Sean Adams/WCBS 880

Film Beset By FDNY Tragedy Will Close New York Film Festival

August 02, 2019 - 5:34 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) – The movie “Motherless Brooklyn”—the filming of which was beset by tragedy when an FDNY firefighter was killed in a film set fire—will close the 57th New York Film Festival this year.

Film Lincoln Center says the movie, directed by Edward Norton, will be its closing-night film at the festival, according to Variety.

It’s New York premiere will be at Alice Tully Hall on Friday, October 11.

The film, which stars Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin, will then be released by Warner Bros later this year.

It's based on a best-selling novel by Jonathan Lethem about a detective with Tourette syndrome who gets tangled up in a conspiracy involving powerful New York figures.

Michael Davidson
WCBS 880

Michael Davidson, 15-year veteran of the FDNY, died on March 23, 2018 when he ran into a burning brownstone in Harlem that was serving as a movie set for the film.

The 37-year-old wasn’t able to make it out of the building with his fellow firefighters and was later found inside.

The FDNY said a boiler venting heat sparked the blaze in the building, which was unoccupied at the time.

The fire marshal determined that heat from a boiler ignited nearby combustible materials in the cellar of the building and that the  building's sprinkler system had been shut off.

Davidson was posthumously named an FDNY lieutenant at a ceremony earlier this year.