Edward Norton’s Production Company Sued Over Fire That Killed FDNY Veteran

Edward Norton attends CNN Heroes Gala 2016 at the American Museum of Natural History on December 11, 2016 in New York City. Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Turner

Two tenants have filed a lawsuit against Edward Norton’s production company after a fire broke out in their Harlem apartment building on March 22, killing a firefighter from the New York City Fire Department.

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Class 5 Films is now facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by Erica and George Cruz on Tuesday, March 27, in the New York Supreme Court. They are claiming that tenants weren’t given a warning by the company when the fire broke out inside the building, where Norton was filming the movie, Motherless Brooklyn.

According to court documents obtained by Us Weekly, the two siblings are now claiming to have lost all of their possessions in the blaze, adding that the fire started in the basement, where the production company maintained “highly flammable equipment.” They also named Vincent Sollazzo, the building’s owner, in the lawsuit and are seeking $7 million in damages.

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“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 document reads. “As a result of the fire, the plaintiffs’ apartment was completely destroyed.”

Lt. Michael R. Davidson, who served the FDNY for 15 years, was killed while fighting the five-alarm fire in the occupied residential building. According to a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page, the Engine Company 69 member was transported to Harlem Hospital Center, where he died from his injuries. “He is the 1,150th member to make the Supreme Sacrifice while serving our city,” their statement read, adding that Davidson was “cited for bravery on four separate occasions.”

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The actor, 48, attended Davidson’s wake at Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home in Floral Park, New York, on Sunday, March 25, along with hundreds of FDNY members who also showed up to pay their respects to the 37-year-old. “I have never witnessed firsthand that kind of bravery,” Norton wrote about Davidson on Instagram on Saturday, March 24. “I’m in awe of that kind of selfless courage. It’s devastating to contemplate that one of the men we watched charging in there lost his life. Please send a prayer of thanks for the spirit and courage of Michael Davidson. Our team is committed to honoring him and assisting his family.”

The producers of Motherless Brooklyn also released a statement. “Our deepest condolences to the family of Michael R. Davidson,” they told Us last week. “A fire broke out tonight in the building where we were shooting our film. Our production was towards the end of our working day and had dozens of people working on site when our crew noticed that smoke was coming into our set and into other parts of the building from below us. 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.”

Davidson is survived by his four young children and his wife, Eileen. A GoFundMe page has been created to help support the family after their loss.

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