NYC firefighter killed in Harlem spent time at Iona College

Posted: Updated:
NEW ROCHELLE -

A New York City firefighter who died while battling a fire in Harlem is being remembered in the Hudson Valley.

Fire officials say Michael Davidson, a 15-year veteran of the FDNY and a married father of four, was on the front line of a five-alarm fire, which broke out in the building's basement around 11 p.m.

Officials say firefighters were in the building’s cellar when they got an order to retreat. They say Davidson then became separated from his unit. Reports say firefighters desperately searched for him, and when he was found, he was unconscious from severe smoke inhalation.

He was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

Before Davidson became one of the bravest in New York City, he started at Iona College where his dream of being a firefighter began. Even though he didn’t finish his four years at the school, he was remembered Friday as a true Gael.

"There's not a person who can say a bad thing about him," said Bryan Beyrer, now the athletic director at Iona College. He says he spent nearly every day with Davidson during his two years on campus in 1999 and 2000.

"It's tremendously sad. He was quiet in his demeanor, but was extremely friendly and accepting and very warm when it came to speaking with anyone he encountered," said Beyrer.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro says the department is in mourning over the loss of a “very brave firefighter, one who has firefighting in his blood.”

"He comes from a family of firefighters. His dad is retired. He worked in the same firehouse that Michael did. His brother, Eric, works in Engine 88 in the Bronx," says Nigro.

The fire was reported by the crew of the movie “Motherless Brooklyn” which stars Edward Norton, Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

A GoFundMe page has been created to raise funds for Davidson's family.

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