First African-American UofL football player dies in house fire - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

First African-American UofL football player dies in house fire

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The first African-American football player at the University of Louisville has died in a house fire.

Family members said Lawrence Simmons died after a fire broke out in the 2100 block of West Oak Street.

Firefighters said the ignition source was his basement apartment. Major Henry Ott with the Louisville Fire Department said, "We think that it's a short in the power cord for an electric space heater." The fire was between the door and Lawrence Simmons, making it impossible to get out.  There were no working smoke detectors in the fou-unit house, according to firefighters. Other tenants escaped without injuries.

A neighbor called 911 at 10:21 a.m., according to MetroSafe. Arson investigators are on the scene determining an exact cause.

Lawrence Simmons played football for UofL in 1952. Family members said he was also a teacher at Meyzeek Middle School, from where he retired.

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