Farewell to a hero: Funeral held for fallen FDNY firefighter Michael Davidson

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
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NJ Burkett has more on the farwell to fallen firefighter Michael Davidson.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Family, friends and fellow firefighters joined a sea of New York's Bravest Tuesday as hundreds gathered to bid a final farewell to a fallen hero.

Funeral services were held for firefighter Michael Davidson at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown, where mourners paid tribute to a man who gave his life serving others.


Davidson was overcome by smoke early Friday at a Harlem building where a movie starring Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin was being filmed.

Throngs of white-gloved firefighters in dress uniform stood at attention along Fifth Avenue as Davidson's casket arrived at the cathedral on a firetruck adorned with his name and black-and-purple bunting. Traffic came to a standstill along the route, with American flags draped overhead.

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Firefighters stand outside St. Patrick's Cathedral as they wait for the start of the funeral of firefighter Michael Davidson. (Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig

Cardinal Timothy Dolan presided over the service, comparing Davidson to Jesus in that he gave his life for others. He said the blood of Davidson -- who hailed from a family of firefighters - contained "the DNA of the FDNY," and his name "radiates goodness, valor and virtue as sparkling as the badge he wears."

Davidson leaves behind a wife and four young children, who Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said will always be part of the FDNY family.

"Your children will grow up knowing their father was a true hero," Nigro told Eileen Davidson while holding back tears.

The 15-year veteran died after he became separated from his unit, and he was found with his oxygen mask detached from the tank. The medical examiner ruled smoke inhalation was the cause of death.

He was recognized several times throughout his career for his bravery.

Those who knew Davidson and his firefighter father and brother say he was one of the best they've ever known.

"The hardest part with working with Mike was trying to measure up to him," FDNY Lieutenant Greg Damato said. "He was excellent at everything he did. He was athletic. He was a wonderful fireman. He was a great friend."

His father was a firefighter for 26 years, and his brother, Eric, is an 11-year veteran of Engine Company 88 in the Bronx.

"The city of New York lost a great man," FDNY Captain Robert Allen said. "The Davidson family lost a great son, and we are going to miss him deeply and dearly. He was an asset to Engine 69."

There will be a review into procedure as investigate how and why Davidson was separated from the rest of the firefighters.

The building where he perished on St. Nicholas Avenue is set to be torn down.

Thousands paid their respects at wakes held Sunday and Monday at Dalton Funeral home in Floral Park, Long Island, where the wait to get inside extended two hours.


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