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New legislation put forward three years after firefighter’s death on ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ film set

UFA Vice President Bobby Eustace speaks at the press conference on Feb. 16th
Photo by Dean Moses

A new New York legislation to protect firefighters is officially moving forward, it was announced Tuesday night.  

During an evening press conference on Feb. 17, family members of deceased firefighter Michael Davidson joined members of the FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association at their headquarters at 204 E. 23rd Street to speak out against the film industry jeopardizing firefighter safety and highlighting key legislation being introduced to New York City Council, 1849-A & 1852-A.

Davidson lost his life three years prior after responding to the report of a fire on a movie set used for the motion picture “Motherless Brooklyn.” Unbeknownst to Davidson and his crew, the location was not a traditional residence but instead, a movie set ridden with a maze of artificial walls, leading him to become separated from fellow firefighters where he ran out of air and perished on March 23, 2018 at 773 St. Nicholas Avenue.

At the FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association Headquarters, family members of fallen comrade Michael Davidson, discuss two new bills to protect fireman. Photo by Dean Moses

This new piece of legislation will help to prevent instances like this from taking place in the future by making firehouses fully aware of filming locations–what is and is not a movie set–while also requiring a fire safety marshal to be present at all times.  UFA Vice President Bobby Eustace said that while he is not looking to prohibit the film industry in any way, he also says it is important for officials to know if a street is closed due to filming, which may also stall response time.     

“We are not looking to get in the way of the film industry. It gives us a fighting shot of understanding what we are going after,” Eustace said, hoping that safety will prevail. 

 Family members of Michael Davidson proudly attended the announcement, and although the grief was still visible on their faces years following his death, they say they are grateful for this moment. In their eyes, Davidson will now continue his work: saving lives.

“It’s an honor to think that even though Michael cannot be with us today, the way we desperately wish he could, he continues to live on through this bill,” Eileen Davidson, wife of Michael Davidson said.

Eileen Davidson, wife of Michael Davidson, believes that these bills will help prevent similar tragic incidents. Photo by Dean Moses

Michael Davison’s brother, Eric Davidson, was still visibly heartbroken but the news that the bill is being put forward unaltered by the Hollywood industry gave him some solace. Prior to the press conference, there was a rumored fear that the film industry would attempt to alter the bill so that they can get a break on safety protocols. 

“We’re thankful they didn’t make any changes to the original language because at the end of the day, this was about safety,” Eric Davidson said. 

The new bills are said to be approved by New York City Council next week. 

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