Jan. 4, 1945

Fire takes life, girl dies in disaster

The community was shocked by the tragic death of Marjorie June Puent, 23, who lost her life when fire destroyed the home of her mother, Mrs. Lehtonen, at 4 o’clock Tuesday morning.

Marjorie was born in Two Harbors and is the daughter of Walter Puent of Detroit. She worked in the defense plant in Albion, Michigan and came to spend the holiday with her mother. She is also survived by a sister and a brother in Detroit. Mr. Puent arrived in Two Harbors on Wednesday.

Following an investigation which was updated at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday evening, State Fire Marshall I.J. Erickson, who works out of St. Paul but lives in Duluth, reported that the fire which caused the death of Miss Puent was caused by unusual circumstances.

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A gas plate used by the Lehtonens had a leak for about a week but was not reported.

Miss Puent went home about half an hour before her mother, Mrs. Lehtonen, and retired. When the latter arrived, she built up a fire in the range as the house felt cold. Noticing an odor of gas, Mrs. Lehtonen opened the only door to air out and then laid down until she felt cold when she got up and closed the door and retired.

Again smelling gas, the mother called her daughter and left the house, thinking Marjorie was behind her. Finding this was not the case, she went to the window to again call her daughter but the latter failed to respond.

Although every effort humanly possible was made to save the young girl, it was impossible to do so and when reached by firemen, she was found dead.

Mrs. Lehtonen is in the Two Harbors hospital suffering from second degree burns and is reported to be in stable condition.

Jan. 8, 1970

County has perfect 1969 safety record

The year 1969 passed into history at midnight last Wednesday on the same note of safety and sanity that it started with Jan. 1, so far as Lake County was concerned.

Sheriff Roland S. Falk said that there were no fatal accidents at all during the entire year in this county.

A check of highway patrol records in St. Paul disclosed that Lake County was the only one of Minnesota’s 87 counties to have that perfect record during 1969, Sheriff Falk said.

There were many merrymakers about over the death of the old year and the birth of the new but no serious trouble was reported by local law enforcement agencies.

Mild weather prevailed in the area over the holidays and the snowstorms of Christmas were not repeated. Travel was normal on roads which had been cleared of the early holiday white covering. There were, of course, some mishaps but none serious.