Firefighter Michael Davidson, on the morning after the latest local nor’easter, built a snowman with his giddy kids outside their Long Island home.
Then he left for his shift at FDNY Engine Co. 69 — and never made it back home.
“He was busy playing with his kids right before he went,” recalled neighbor Joanne Caldon, 67, who lives a few houses down in Floral Park, L.I.
“He was just down in the snow right in front of the house, having a good time.”
The married father of four small children died early Friday from injuries suffered while fighting a raging Harlem blaze in a five-story building used as a movie set.
He and wife Eileen were parents to three daughters — ages 7, 3 and 1 — along with a 6-year-old boy.
Neighbor Peggy Healy, 82, wept after learning the young man down the street had died in the fire. The Davidsons had only moved to the neighborhood about two years ago to accommodate their growing family.
“They’re so sweet, they’re such sweet people,” said the teary Healy. “He was always walking his beautiful little children, always walking and taking care of them.”
One day earlier, Healy recalled, Davidson appeared and shoveled off her snow-covered sidewalk in a typical gesture of good will.
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“I’m yelling, ‘Michael! Thank you!’” she recounted. “He said, ‘Oh, you’re very welcome!’ He was such a kind man. He was a nice, easy-going man — lovely, lovely man. I can’t comprehend this at all.”
Davidson hailed from a family of firefighters, including his dad, retired FDNY veteran Robert, and his brother Eric, an 11-year veteran stationed in the Bronx.
Although just 37, he had already logged 15 years with the FDNY before his tragic demise cast a pall over his suburban neighborhood.
“He was an excellent firefighter and an incredible young man,” said one FDNY retiree who knew Davidson’s dad. “He was well-respected and a great father.”
Neighbor Kim Kerekach, 47, recalled seeing Davidson with the kids on many occasions.
“He’s always out there playing with them, and sitting on the steps and watching them,” said Kerekach. “He was an excellent father.”
Kerekach said she was shocked by the news and worried about the widow and her children.
“I really feel sorry for them, especially for those kids,” she said. “It’s really heartbreaking.”