Edward Norton’s production company sued after fatal fire on movie set

Click to play video: 'New York firefighter dies fighting blaze on Brooklyn movie set' New York firefighter dies fighting blaze on Brooklyn movie set
New York firefighter Michael Davidson died he and other fire crews battled a five-alarm blaze that broke out at a movie set for a film starring Edward Norton – Mar 23, 2018

Edward Norton’s production company, Class 5 Films, is being sued over a fatal fire that broke out on the set of the new movie, Motherless Brooklyn.

The lawsuit, filed by Erica and George Cruz — who lived in the building — was filed against Class 5 films and the owner of the apartment building, Vincent Sollazzo-Lampkin, on March 27 in New York Supreme Court. It does not name Norton as a defendant in the suit, which seeks US$7 million in damages.

In the lawsuit, Erica Cruz says she was forced to “run for her life” and suffered “severe and permanent personal injuries” and property loss.

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The fire spread through the apartment building and killed 37-year-old New York firefighter Michael R. Davidson, as well as injuring three others.

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The fire started as the crew of Motherless Brooklyn, directed by Norton, was nearing the end of its working day at 11 p.m. on March 22. Flames poured out the windows as firefighters stormed into the five-storey building, dumping water on the blaze to get it under control.

VIDEO: New York firefighter dies battling blaze on movie set of Ed Norton film
Click to play video: 'New York firefighter dies battling blaze on movie set of Ed Norton film' New York firefighter dies battling blaze on movie set of Ed Norton film
New York firefighter dies battling blaze on movie set of Ed Norton film – Mar 23, 2018

Davidson of Engine Company 69 was assigned to the nozzle on the lead hose line and pushed into the burning basement. But the blaze was too much and they had to back out, and Davidson got separated from his colleagues.

Firefighters searched desperately for him, and when he was found he was unconscious after suffering severe smoke inhalation, fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. Davidson was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after midnight.

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The suit alleges that Class 5 maintained “highly flammable equipment” in the basement of the building and claims that the fire started due to “defendants’ recklessness, carelessness and negligence.”

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George and Erica Cruz live on the fourth floor of the building in Harlem, New York.

The suit reads: “When representatives of Class 5, Inc., became aware of the fire, they did not warn the tenants in the building; in fact, they misled the tenants into believing there had been a fire that had been extinguished.”

The lawsuit says “the plaintiffs’ apartment was completely destroyed.”

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The lawsuit claims the fire exacerbated Erica’s asthma and caused her severe emotional distress as well as post-traumatic stress disorder and nightmares.

The production company had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.

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In an earlier statement given to People, the production company claimed, “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.”

The statement continued, “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.”

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The New York City Fire Department tweeted, “It is with deep regret that FDNY announces the death of Firefighter Michael R. Davidson.”

Davidson had been a firefighter for about 15 years and had been cited four times for his bravery on the job. He leaves behind a wife, Eileen, and four children, three daughters ages 7, 3 and 1, along with a six-year-old son. He was the son of a retired firefighter.

Motherless Brooklyn — which Norton also stars in alongside Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe — tells the story of a private detective with Tourette’s syndrome who seeks to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend.

—With files from the Associated Press

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