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House destroyed but no injuries in Clell Mattingly Road house fire

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By Stephen Lega

 Firefighters from Loretto, Raywick and Lebanon responded to a house fire Feb. 25 at 1020 Clell Mattingly Road.

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J.C. “Tooders” Mattingly, 83, was at home during the fire, but got out with the help of David Ray Hardesty.

“I had no idea it was happening,” Mattingly said.

While he got out unharmed, Mattingly’s house was pretty well destroyed. He said he’d lived there his entire life.

Mattingly did say that he’d started a fire in his fireplace. Mattingly’s daughter also lives with him, but she was at work in Louisville at the time of the fire.

Lebanon Police Dispatch received a call reporting the fire at 9:42 a.m. Feb. 25.

Loretto Assistant Chief Wayne Hagan said the house was fully involved when they arrived. According to Hagan, the fire likely started in a wood stove. The hottest part of the fire was in the same area as the wood stove, he said.

"It could have been a spark. It could have been the creosote," Hagan said.

Creosote is a liquid used as a wood preservative, and it is flammable. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, creosote can build up in wood stoves and chimneys.

The home at 1020 Clell Mattingly was a log home that had additions over the years. Hagan said extinguishing a fire in a log home can be difficult because of the tight fit of the logs.

Marion County EMS also responded to the scene.

Old home goes back at least 137 years

One of JC's siblings, Larry Joe "Hawk" Mattingly, said the community lost an "old landmark" as a result of the fire. He said he has a map of Marion and Washington Counties from 1877 that shows the house in the same location.

The house was a log home that had received additions over the years, according to Hawk Mattingly. He said their parents, Clell and Josephine Mattingly moved into the house in 1930 and raised their 10 children there. Eight of those children are still living.

"Many fond memories came to me as I watched it burn of my youth, especially those of life on a farm," Hawk Mattingly said.

He said he recalled big meals, hay wagon rides, playing games in the barns, horseshoes, fishing and riding horses. He also remembers sharing stories and visits from "many, many cousins."

How to help

Hawk Mattingly added that anyone who may want to help J.C. Mattingly can call him at 270-692-6179.

Hawk said he believe J.C. wears small or medium shirts, pants with a 28- or 29-inch waist and 28-inch length, and 7.5 or 8 shoes.