Music industry

Retired music professional dies in house fire, trapped by bars on windows

Grief and agony as a loved one spoke of the final moments of her cousin Laurence Christopher Davis who was killed in a house fire on Wednesday morning.

“She heard him say, ‘Help me, help me,’ said Harry Todd, Davis’ cousin.

Davis, 68, was on the phone with a friend when he realized his East Vernor house in Detroit was on fire. The person on the phone could tell he was trying to put out the fire.

“A passerby saw him through the window screaming and asking for help.”

Harry Todd says his cousin didn’t make it out alive

“Because of the bars on the windows upstairs, that’s the reason he perished,” Todd said.

Investigators were still at home Wednesday afternoon looking for answers. They said the investigation is ongoing.

“Detroit Fire Department, Detroit Police Department, arson team, they’re doing a hell of a job trying to figure out what happened and trying to save my cousin,” he said.

Not only did this fire cost a precious life, it also destroyed the family home.

“This was our family home, 3643 East Werner Highway,” Todd said. “All of my family grew up and went to school here, all of our memories are there.”

As painful as this tragedy is, Harry Todd says he wants to remember all the wonderful things his cousin has accomplished in his 69 years, mostly in the music industry.

Inset: Laurence Christopher Davis.

“He fell in love with the music industry years ago,” Todd said. “He was an A&R guy for Warner Bros and CBS Records,” Todd said. “He was really involved in the development and culture of artists. He was really connected to the local radio scene, the Electrifying Mojo, Tiger Dan.”

Todd says his cousin has also helped start careers.

“He really believed in giving local artists breaks,” he said. “There’s an artist named Prince, his first song broke in Detroit thanks to the work of Larry Davis and Charles Johnson aka Electrifying Mojo.”

Todd says he often made food for his cousin and brought it to the family home. He hopes this tragedy sends a strong message to all who listen to him.

“Keep in touch, keep in touch with each other,” he said.