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Almost 3 Years After Movie Set Fire Took Life Of FDNY Firefighter, City Council Set To Vote On New Regulations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Nearly three years after a fire in Harlem took the life of a firefighter, the City Council is poised to vote on legislation to prevent more tragedies.

It was March 22, 2018, when fire erupted in a 1920s brownstone on St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem.

An old jazz club was being used as the set for the film "Motherless Brooklyn," directed by Edward Norton.

Thirty-seven-year-old firefighter Michael Davidson went in and gave his life fighting the fire.

Lieutenant Michael R. Davidson, a 15-year veteran of the FDNY and father of four, was killed while battling a blaze in Harlem. (Credit: FDNY)

"I don't even know that I can put into words for you what it's like receiving that call in the middle of the night. I just know that I don't ever want anybody else to feel what we felt that night," said Eileen Davidson, Michael's widow.

Eileen has been fighting for regulations on film sets.

The City Council will vote next week on two bills.

One would require a fire safety manager on a movie or TV set if any kind of pyrotechnics are used in the production.

The second requires notification to the fire department when any temporary alterations are made to a building being used as a film set.

"These are, unfortunately, the factors that contributed to the death of Firefighter Davidson a couple of years ago," Councilman Joe Borelli told CBS2's Nick Caloway.

Borelli sponsored and co-sponsored the two regulatory bills honoring Davidson with support from the FDNY and the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

"To give us a fighting shot. When you call the New York City Fire Department, we come no matter where the emergency is, but we need to know what we are walking into," said Bobby Eustace, vice president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

Davidson's widow says she believes regulations like this could have saved her husband's life.

Now, she hopes her family's tragedy can inspire meaningful change.

"Obviously this is not what we want. We want him. But in a way, it's still Michael protecting," she said.

The City Council is expected to approve these regulations next week. Then it will be up to the mayor to sign into law.

The Motion Picture Association said Tuesday it is in full support of the bills, saying in a statement, "We urge the council to pass it, as early as next week, and we encourage Mayor de Blasio to sign it into law as soon as possible."

CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

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