Floral Park mourns loss of firefighter resident
A Floral Park resident and 15-year member of the New York Fire Department (FDNY), Michael Davidson, 37, was killed on Thursday, March 22, after responding to a five-alarm fire in a Harlem building, which was being used as a movie set for an upcoming Ed Norton and Bruce Willis film Davidson, assigned to Engine Company 69 in Manhattan, responded to the blaze in the basement of the five-story building on St. Nicholas Avenue and West 149th Street shortly before 11 p.m., FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement.
“The Village of Floral Park has lost one of its family members today. It’s times like these that our community rallies and we will be there for Michael Davidson’s wife, Eileen, his children and family as well as their extended family, the FDNY. Michael was a loving husband, a caring and dedicated father, son, brother and a true friend and neighbor,” said Floral Park Village Mayor Dominick Longobardi. “Today we lost a true hero and we are ever grateful to all of our emergency service providers who put their lives on the line each and every day. We can never thank them enough for what they do and we offer our sincerest condolences to the Davidson Family, the FDNY family and the extended family they have created.”
Nigro said Davidson was assigned to the nozzle when he got separated from firefighters inside the “rapidly deteriorating fire conditions.” Fire officials said he was pronounced dead when he arrived at Harlem Hospital.
“Last night we lost one of the best,” Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said. “Firefighter Davidson made the ultimate sacrifice while on duty and we mourn the passing of a true hero who served his community. The Town of Hempstead will have Michael Davidson and his family in our thoughts and prayers as we try to make sense of this tragedy.”
Davidson, coming from a family of firefighters, was cited for his life-saving services four times throughout his career, according to Nigro. Officials said his father, Robert, was a 26-year veteran of the FDNY and his brother, Eric, is an 11-year veteran of Fire Engine 88 in the Bronx, officials said. Davidson is survived by his wife, Eileen, three daughters, ages 7, 3, and 1 and a son, 6, fire officials said.
“Firefighter Davidson bravely battled many fires and responded to countless calls for help from New Yorkers throughout his 15 years of dedicated service,” Nigro said. “Our department and our entire city mourn this tragic loss of a very brave firefighter.”
An outpouring of support came from miles around, including a GoFundMe campaign and a campaign hosted by the FDNY Foundation to benefit Davidson’s children for the “Firefighter Michael Davidson’s Children’s Educational Fund” (www.fdnyfoundation.org/donate).
The building where the blaze broke out was being used as a set for the upcoming Willis and Norton film Motherless Brooklyn. The movie crew “immediately alerted the fire department” after noticing smoke coming into the set from below them, the producers said in a statement.
“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 said in a statement. “New York City firefighters truly are the bravest in the world.”
The fire was placed under control after 2:30 a.m. on Friday, March 23, said fire officials. City fire marshals continue to investigate the cause of the fire.
FDNY brought Davidson’s body home to Floral Park on Friday, March 23. Members from dozens of emergency response teams from across Long Island and the five boroughs assembled from Harlem to Floral Park, saluting Davidson’s final call. Hundreds of residents and firemen lined Jericho Turnpike, from the Cross Island Expressway, to Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home in Floral Park, to pay their respects.
Services were held on Sunday, March 25, and on Monday, March 26, with a Funeral Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan scheduled for Tuesday, March 27.