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Firefighter Michael R. Davidson served FDNY for 15 years and “was cited for bravery on four separate occasions,” according to the New York City Fire Department.
USA TODAY

A New York City firefighter died Thursday after a large fire broke out in a Harlem building where an Edward Norton movie was being filmed.

The blaze broke out on the set of Motherless Brooklyn in the cellar of an unoccupied building on St. Nicolas Avenue about 11 p.m. Thursday. Firefighter Michael Davidson, 37, who served the department for 15 years, was killed.

“(Davidson) was cited for bravery on four separate occasions,” the New York City Fire Department said in a statement. “He is the 1,150th member to make the Supreme Sacrifice while serving our city.”

Two other firefighters suffered serious burns, the department said. A number of others with the department had less serious injuries, and three civilians received minor injuries. 

“This is an awful night. We’ve lost an NYC firefighter,” tweeted Eric Phillips, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary.

New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the raging blaze forced the firefighters to back out of the building. “They encountered heavy fire. They did the best they could,” Nigro said.

Davidson, who was assigned to the nozzle on the first-to-arrive Engine Company 69, got separated from the rest of the unit and lost consciousness. He was later found by other firefighters and taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Davidson is survived by his wife, Eileen, and four children.

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Norton was directing and starring in the film, along with Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin.

Contributing: Eve Chen; The Associated Press.

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