UPDATE: 2:46 a.m. EDT — The deceased firefighter was 37 years old, and his name was not released by the authorities. He is survived by four daughters, sources told New York Post. The firefighter also reportedly had a brother, who worked in the same department.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. A news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio and fire department Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro is likely to take place Friday morning.
A city firefighter was pronounced dead and another severely injured after a raging four-alarm blaze broke out on a film set in the basement of Hamilton Heights apartment building in Harlem on Thursday night, sources said early Friday.
The fire broke out on St. Nicholas Avenue at W. 149th St. at about 11 p.m. EDT on Thursday, on the set of “Motherless Brooklyn,” which is an adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel with the same name, starring Edward Norton. Massive evacuations and rescue operations were underway by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) officials.
“This is a tragedy, please give us some privacy,” Norton said from the scene, New York Daily News reported.
City Hall spokesman Eric Phillips tweeted saying: “This is an awful night. We’ve lost an NYC firefighter. Public briefing shortly at Harlem Hospital. Sick to my stomach.”
The building was said to be five-storeys high. FDNY officials said apart from the two firefighters, several civilian victims may also have been pulled out from the fire.
Firefighters initially responded to reports claiming one of their own may have been missing in the four-alarm fire, but he was found and immediately taken to a hospital, according to a tweet by NYC Councilmember, Mark Levine (D-Manhattan).
At least three fire department ladder companies blasted water into the building, as sparks glowed through the roof. The fire was said to have quickly spread throughout the building, an FDNY spokesman told NY Daily News. The spokesman also added a total of 39 FDNY vehicles and 175 firefighters responded to the scene.
Social media users and people nearby posted photos and videos from the scene of the blaze.