Medical Examiner's Office Says 15-Year FDNY Veteran Died Of Smoke Inhalation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A second viewing was held Monday for Lt. Michael Davidson, the 15-year FDNY veteran who was killed battling a fire in Harlem last week.

Davidson’s wake was held in Floral Park. His funeral is set to be held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Tuesday morning.

“It’s been devastating,” neighbor Christopher Boswell said. “It’s a sad conclusion for a very, very trying period.”

The medical examiner’s office said Monday that Davidson’s cause of death was smoke inhalation, but said the manner of death was pending further studies.

Davidson died early Friday morning while battling a blaze at a building where the crew of the film “Motherless Brooklyn” had been shooting Thursday night and noticed smoke.

As conditions worsened in the basement, Davidson somehow became separated from his team.

“Basements and cellars never have a consistent layout that we’re familiar with,” said retired Battalion Chief Frank Donnelly. “So yes, super dangerous for him to do that.”

The 37-year-old husband and father of four young children, who was posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant on Saturday, spent all 15 years of his career with Engine 69.

Michael Davidson

Firefighter Michael Davidson and family (Photo: FDNY)

“I’m going to miss him, I love him and I’ll definitely keep him in my memory forever,” Lt. Greg Damato said. “He would go through a brick wall for you.”

At the Dalton Funeral Home Sunday, there were salutes for every family member, including Davidson’s father, a retired firefighter, and his wife Eileen who was too heartbroken to speak.

“We do these things because we care so much about the city of New York and Mike was certainly one of those people and we miss him and we love him,” said Capt. Michael Hayes.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan also paid his respects with something special in hand.

“I brought a palm for Michael, for the casket, because it’s Palm Sunday and I said it’s gotta be a consolation, doesn’t it? That this week of all weeks, when we think about the death and the cross and the one who said, ‘greater love than this no one has than to give his life for another.’ Jesus said that and now we got Michael as a living, radiant example of that,” Dolan said.

Late Monday afternoon, Congressman Peter King (R-LI) and Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with Davidson’s family and offered their condolences.

It’s still unclear what caused the fire. The building was scheduled for demolition so investigators can get a closer look at the basement.

Authorities said the building next to the one destroyed by the fire had been targeted in several burglaries since the blaze.