Playwright Daniel McClung Killed in Manhattan High-Rise Fire

By Adam Hetrick
06 Jan 2014

Playwright Daniel McClung, a promising young writer whose works were developed at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, was killed in a Jan. 5 fire in a midtown Manhattan high-rise apartment building.



McClung, 27, died of smoke inhalation while trying to evacuate the building located on West 43rd Street, after a fire broke out just after 11 AM on the 20th floor, according to the New York Times.

McClung and his husband, Michael Todd Cohen, who were married this past summer, lived on the 38th floor and were both found in the smoke-filled stairwells of the luxury high rise. Cohen is in serious but stable condition at Roosevelt Hospital.

Drama Desk Award nominee Josh Hecht, who directed several of McClung's plays, described the late playwright as a "sensitive, funny and poignant writer."

McClung's Paper Nautilus was staged by Hecht for AliveWire Theatrics. His plays were also developed at Rattlestick and PS 122.

The New York Times reports that residents from 23-24 units in the building were displaced due to the fire, which was caused by a faulty extension cord.

A fund has been set up to help offset costs for the families of McClung and Cohen in the wake of the tragedy. Click here to donate.