HARRODSBURG — A longtime employee of Old Fort Harrod State Park died Monday when a fire gutted her house.
Mary Rose Harley, 71, died in the fire on West Lane, said her nephew Brent Steele.
"I talked to her last night and she was fine," Steele said.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known. A state fire marshal and Kentucky State Police investigators were on the scene, but they declined to release any preliminary findings.
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Harrodsburg fire Chief Chris Dean said the fire was reported shortly after 3:30 a.m. Monday.
"There's no foul play or anything of suspicious nature," Dean said.
Steele arrived after neighbors had called to tell him about the fire.
"It was coming through the roof and out the windows," Steele said.
Harley had been employed at Old Fort Harrod State Park for more than 40 years, said another employee, Margaret Sims. They had worked together in the museum for 18 years, Sims said.
Harley kept newspaper clippings about the park and its history and shared them with Sims and anyone else who was interested.
"She's worked here for all these years, and it was more or less her life," Sims said.
Steele said Harley spent about 30 minutes talking with him Sunday night about the life of Abraham Lincoln. The parents of the 16th president were married in 1806 in a cabin that was moved from neighboring Washington County and is on display inside a red brick "marriage temple" at Old Fort Harrod.
Hope Hayden, a neighbor, said Harley would have her and her mother over for weekly chicken-and-dumplings meals.
"She was a good person," Hayden said. "I would have her over to eat at Christmas and Thanksgiving. She was single and never married, so I had her over to eat or I'd take her something to eat."