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Massive Fire On Set Of Bruce Willis Movie Kills Firefighter, Injures 5 Others

As an action movie hero, Bruce Willis has vanquished terrorists, time-traveled, and handled unfinished business as a ghost, but in real life, it was another man who did the saving when the set of his upcoming movie became the scene of a massive blaze.

On March 22, a five-alarm fire broke just before 11 pm, while the production crew of the 1950s-inspired film, Motherless Brooklyn, was still on set in Harlem, New York.

However, the building which sustained the damage was empty when the blaze started, police confirmed.

According to reports, it took more than 40 trucks and 175 NYFD firefighters to put the flames "under control" around 2:40 a.m. Friday.

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"As soon as we noticed smoke coming up into our set, our crew immediately alerted the fire department and began alerting residents of the building even as we evacuated our cast and crew," explained the film's producers.

According to the New York Daily News, it was Ed Norton, the film's director and one of its stars, who noticed the fire in the basement. It's unclear whether or not Willis was also on the scene.

While none of the movie's cast or crew have been hurt, a 37-year-old firefighter, Michael Davidson, lost his life while doing his duty.

Davidson, who had been with the New York Fire Department for 15 years, is said to have "separated from the rest of the unit" while they were trying to back out of the building.

He was transported to a Harlem Hospital where he eventually succumbed to his injuries.

"They encountered heavy fire, and they did the best they could," Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. "The fire continued to advance. Units were forced to 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."

Davidson is remembered for his bravery and dedication to saving lives.

"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."

TimesDaily.com

The film's producers released a statement acknowledging Davidson's bravery and expressing their gratitude.

"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. New York City firefighters truly are the bravest in the world," read the statement.

"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 super-heroes and have our boundless admiration and gratitude."

Norton also spoke to the reporters on scene and stated that "This is a tragedy," before asking for privacy.

In addition to the father of four's death, another firefighter and three civilians reportedly sustained injuries.

Daily Mail

The site of the fire was the home of St. Nick's Jazz Pub, which closed in 2011. It appears as though the production crew were using the building as the location of a fictionalized club called King Rooster Jazz Club.

At the moment, it's not clear what impact the incident will have on the filming of Motherless Brooklyn, which is set for release next year.

In addition to Willis and Norton, the film also stars Willem Defoe and Alec Baldwin.

We're sending our heartfelt condolences to Davidson's family, including his wife and children.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.