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Officials release cause of fire at Harlem movie set that killed FDNY firefighter Lt. Michael Davidson


HARLEM, Manhattan — A fatal fire at a Harlem movie set that claimed the life of a veteran FDNY firefighter was caused by heat from a boiler ventilation pipe ignited nearby flammable materials, FDNY officials said Tuesday.

The combustion caused a fire in the cellar of 773 St. Nicholas Ave. where firefighter Michael R. Davidson was killed on March 23, 2018.

An ongoing investigation into the blaze also revealed that the building’s sprinkler system, which was installed both in the first floor restaurant and nightclub as well as the staircase and apartments on the upper floors, had been shut off and did not activate to put out the fire, officials said.

FDNY and the Department’s Safety Command is conducting a complete and comprehensive investigation into the fire and death of Lieutenant Davidson.

Davidson, two other firefighters, and three civilians were injured during the massive blaze that consumed a historic five-story Harlem building, fire officials said.

As conditions worsened, firefighters were told to evacuate the building, but Davidson became separated from the rest of the unit, Nigro said.

Davidson, whose job was to operate a hoseline to suppress the fire, was found unconscious and critically injured, fire officials said.

He was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to fire officials.

Lt. Davidson, 37, was a 15-year veteran of the FDNY and a married father of four.

Davidson spent his entire 15-year career at Engine Company 69, Ladder 28 in Manhattan, fondly called the Harlem Hilton. It was the same place where his father, Robert, spent more of his 26 years as an FDNY firefighter.

Davidson’s brother, Eric, serves the city as a firefighter in the Bronx.

During his 15 years with the department, Davidson was cited four times for bravery and life-saving actions.

Firefighter Davidson was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant.

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