A deadly blaze on the set of a Bruce Willis movie broke out on Thursday night, killing a firefighter. Willis and Ed Norton, who’s co-starring and directing the film Motherless Brooklyn, were inside a Harlem building when a blaze ignited in the basement, TMZ reported.
According to the report, the 5-alarm fire occurred just before 11 p.m., ET. Norton and the production crew called it into the fire department. FDNY dispatched 44 fire trucks and 200 firefighters to put out the blaze. The firefighter killed battling the fire on the movie set where Bruce Willis was filming is identified as Michael Davidson.
Five other people suffered injuries.
The producers noticed smoke coming up to the movie set, and their crew immediately called for help. They alerted residents of the building as the rest of the cast and crew were being evacuated.
Producers of the movie released a statement to FDNY.
“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.”
The stars and producers also sent their deep condolences for the loss of Davidson.
Entertainment Tonight reported that the firefighter killed in the blaze was 37-years-old and a father of four. It added that Michael Davidson was a member of Engine Company 69. He was transported to a Harlem Hospital before dying from his injuries. It was revealed on FDNY’s Facebook page that the firefighter “was cited for bravery on four separate occasions,” and is “the 1,150th member to make the Supreme Sacrifice while serving our city.” Davidson was a 15-year veteran with FDNY.
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) March 23, 2018
The building where Bruce Willis and Ed Norton were filming the movie was an unoccupied residential structure that was regarded as a New York City landmark. It was about 100-years-old and was the site of St. Nick’s Pub that closed in 2011. The movie crew had put up a sign that read, “King Rooster Jazz Club,” according to New York Daily News.
— FDNY (@FDNY) March 23, 2018
It’s unknown what caused the fire to break out. Officials and NYC fire commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said that Engine Company 69 was the first fire department to arrive at the burning building. They revealed that Davidson somehow separated from other firefighters when the fire escalated, at which point they distanced themselves from the building. Flames rapidly rose through the structure and were shooting up through the roof.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 23, 2018
Whether production was using the basement portion of the building is also unknown. It was below the garden-level of the club, Daily News reported. A neighbor told the news source that cast and crew had been filming on the block steadily for two weeks.
The Bruce Willis movie had also been filming in other parts of Manhattan, and interior scenes were shot in Long Island at Gold Coast Studios.