'Motherless Brooklyn' Tragedy: Fire on Set of Ed Norton Film Claims Life of FDNY Firefighter

Playing Movie Director Ed Norton Watches in Horror as Firefighter Dies on Set

Tragedy struck a movie set in New York City Thursday night as a firefighter died while battling flames that had engulfed a building. 

As the flames shot out of the Harlem building that once housed the notorious St. Nick's jazz club, Ed Norton, the director of Motherless Brooklyn, was photographed nearby looking concerned.

The flames were so intense that firefighters were forced to retreat, but one firefighter got separated from the rest of the crew and was killed.

Michael Davidson, 37, as 15-year FDNY veteran who comes from a family of firefighters, leaves behind a wife and four daughters all under the age of 7.

"They encountered heavy fire, and they did the best they could," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said early Friday. "The fire continued to advance. Units were forced to the back out of the building. Somehow, while backing out of that building, Firefighter Davidson was separated from the rest of the unit. The search ensued. Members tried desperately to find Firefighter Davidson, and when they did, he was unconscious."

The fire broke out at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the basement of the building where the movie was being filmed. 

It was empty when the blaze started, cops say. 

“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,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted early Friday morning. 

Motherless Brooklyn, which stars Norton, Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe, is slated to arrive in theaters later this year. 

"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 producers told Fox News in a 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 superheroes and have our boundless admiration and gratitude."

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