A funeral is being held on Tuesday for a New York City firefighter who died in Harlem last week.
Michael Davidson, 37, was killed while responding to a fire in the basement of a building on St. Nicholas Avenue. He became separated from other firefighters and was later found unconscious. Davidson was pronounced dead at Harlem Hospital of smoke inhalation.
"Mike had the nozzle at that fire. We had a difficult fire, and he sustained a burn injury but continued on to put out another two rooms in the apartment until we were finally relieved. That's dedication. That's heart. Here's a Firefighter with a tough job already, and then he sustains an injury, but he continued working hard until that fire was out," FDNY Lieutenant Ray McCormack said in a statement on Facebook
The funeral is being held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Cardinal Timothy Dolan will deliver the eulogy. A wake was held on Long Island on Sunday and Monday.
“Mike was a leader. He was on the Lieutenant list and he would have made a terrific Lieutenant. He could take charge, he could take direction, he had all the qualities that would make a good officer,” FDNY Captain Robert E. Allen said in a statement on Facebook.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro announced on Saturday that Davidson, a 15-year FDNY veteran, had been posthumously promoted to Lieutenant.
“Lieutenant Davidson was a natural-born leader and dedicated member of the FDNY who died fighting and serving our city,” Commissioner Nigro said in a statement. “He had all the qualities of an officer and more – his promotion is well-deserved.”
The fire broke out on Thursday night at a building where the movie "Motherless Brooklyn" was filming. Director and star Edward Norton said a member of the crew noticed smoke and alerted authorities. Davidson was among those who responded.
"I have never witnessed firsthand that kind of bravery. I’m in awe of that kind of selfless courage. It’s devastating to contemplate that one of the men we watched charging in there lost his life. Please send a prayer of thanks for the spirit and courage of Michael Davidson," Norton said in a statement on Instagram.
"The ability to save a life is our highest calling and the Engine Company's role is to extinguish the fire. The nozzle Firefighter basically runs that show under the supervision of the company officer. Their talent, their knowledge, and what they can understand from fire behavior and experience of going to fires adds up to a well-developed, senior nozzle Firefighter, and thats what Mike was. He was the cream of the crop," says #FDNY Lt. Ray McCormack, #Engine69. Lt. McCormack worked alongside Lt. Michael Davidson, who made the Supreme Sacrifice on March 23. Lt. Davidson is seen here with his wife, Eileen, and their children (oldest to youngest) Brooke, Joseph, Emily, and Amy. Firefighter Pete Driscoll says, "Mike was the guy that the kids pointed out and said, 'I want to be a Firefighter.' I'm a 40-year-old Firefighter and I still say, I want to be like Mike when I grow up. All he wanted to do was help people. Everything he did, every part of being a Firefighter, he was good at. He was good at everything." Firefighter Jim Horan says, "He wanted to be the best, and he was. But he also wanted everyone else around him to be the best, and he did everything he could to make them the best, as well. He loved to laugh. He loved to make other people laugh. I don't know anyone who would see him and not have a smile on their face immediately." . . . . . The @FDNYFoundation joins the FDNY in mourning the line of duty death of Lt. Michael R. Davidson. Donations to benefit the children of Lt. Davidson can be made by visiting www.fdnyfoundation.org/donate/ and selecting “Firefighter Michael Davidson’s Children’s Educational Fund” from the drop-down menu.
Davidson was cited for bravery and life saving actions on four occasions. He's the son of a retired firefighter and his brother is a firefighter in the Bronx. Davidson leaves behind a wife, Eileen, and four young children; Brooke, age 7; Joseph, age 6; Emily, age3; and Amy, age 1.
“One of the biggest things that I learned about Mike was how much he loved his family and that’s one thing that I really want everyone to know is how Mike loved his wife, Eileen, and loved his children,” FDNY Captain Daniel Kudlak said.
Donations to benefit his children can be made by visiting www.fdnyfoundation.org/donate and selecting “Firefighter Michael Davidson’s Children’s Education Fund” from the drop-down menu. Donations can also be made through the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation at www.tunnel2towers.org.
Photo Credit: Alice Stockton-Rossini