Fire Damages Home of Man Who Helped Create American Football

December 27, 2019

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A fire on Christmas morning heavily damaged the historic home of Walter Camp, a Connecticut man credited with developing American football.

Firefighters in New Haven said the fire started around 8 a.m. Wednesday in the three-story, wood frame Victorian structure.

They say no one was inside the home at the time and no injuries were reported. The house, built in 1900, had been recently purchased by a developer and was under renovation, according to Fire Chief John Alston.

The third floor of the structure collapsed in the blaze. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Camp, who was born in New Britain, Connecticut, is considered the father of American football.

As captain of Yale’s rugby team, he tweaked the rules of the English game, introducing concepts such as the line of scrimmage and the quarterback position.

He also established American football’s system of downs and points, the number of players per side, tackling below the waist and other now familiar rules.

Camp also helped create what is today the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or the NCAA, which governs college sports.

He died in 1925. A monument at Yale’s football stadium commemorates Camp’s contributions to sports.

New Haven firefighters also battled a Christmas morning blaze at a waste recycling plant.

They say that fire appears to be accidental and that people who were in the building at the time escaped safely.

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