Toward the end of the working day, around 11 p.m., the film crew noticed "smoke was coming into our set" while shooting at the closed St. Nick's Jazz Pub. "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," Motherless Brooklyn producers told CBS News in a joint 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 firefighter was later identified as 37-year-old Michael R. Davidson, a 15-year FDNY veteran. During the five-alarm fire, Davidson suffered critical injuries. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died.
Motherless Brooklyn is set for a 2019 release and stars Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann, Michael Kenneth Williams, and more. Norton, who penned the screenplay and is directing, also stars. The film is based on the 1999 Jonathan Lethem book of the same name.
As of Friday morning, two other firefighters were reported as being in serious condition. An investigation is underway.