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Donald Mattingly, or "Hippie" as he was more commonly known, was a "heck of a good guy," according to Bobby Joe Corbett, Mattingly's boss at Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto.
"Anything you asked him to do he was happy to do it," Corbett said. "He always had a smile on his face when he came to work... He had a big heart." Mattingly, 45, died Sunday morning when his house, located at 390 Holy Cross Road in Loretto, was destroyed by fire. According to the Lebanon Police Department's dispatch, they received a call about the fire at 6:09 a.m. The Loretto Fire Department, Marion County EMS and Kentucky State Police responded to the scene. Mattingly's body was found after firefighters extinguished the blaze, according to Kentucky State Police. Todd Price, deputy state fire marshal, said the cause of the fire was determined to be an electrical wiring failure in a wall in the kitchen area of Mattingly's home. According to an autopsy performed Monday at the state medical examiner's office, the cause of Mattingly's death was smoke inhalation. "It must have overcame him," Price said. "The strongest man or woman, if they are put in that atmosphere, it just disorientates you so much." There were no working smoke detectors found in the home, Price said. Kentucky State Police, local firefighters and other rescue personnel were at the fire scene all day Sunday conducting an investigation. Donnie Miles, Loretto resident and owner of Loretto Foodland, was the first to see the fire Sunday morning and called 911 from his cellular telephone. Because Marion County doesn't have E-911 (Phase II), his call went to the Kentucky State Police post in Columbia instead of going directly to the Lebanon Police Department's dispatch. As a result, he and others are convinced that there were minutes lost that could have made a difference. "The fire department could have been there at least seven minutes earlier," Miles said. Loretto Fire Chief Mark Mattingly agreed with Miles. "This is a prime example of why Marion County needs E-911," he said. "I don't know if we would have saved him but eight or nine minutes on a trailer fire sure could have made a difference." However, there is a slight discrepancy between the city and state police logs. The state police, who received the initial call, show that the call came in at 6:11 a.m. The Lebanon dispatch shows that they received the call at 6:09 a.m. The discrepancy exists because the clocks at the state police post and local police post aren't in sync. A funeral Mass for Mattingly will be held at 11 a.m. today, Oct. 15, at St. Francis of Assisi Church in St. Francis, with burial in the church cemetery. Memorial donations may be made at Mattingly Funeral Home for a fund for Mattingly's 14-year-old son, Levi. For more information, see Mattingly's full obituary on page A4.