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The following is a press release from the Lake County Sheriff's Office:

FERNDALE, Mont. - On December 28, 2022, at about 1 pm, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a call requesting a welfare check at a residence in the Ferndale area.  Responding deputies investigated and determined the homeowner was deceased and that there had been a fire in the home.  Lake County Detectives and Deputy Coroners were called to investigate and determined that the fire was contained to one room of the home where the decedent was located.  The deceased was identified as 71-year-old, John P. Stokes, of Bigfork.  Preliminary investigation identified the fire and death occurred sometime in the morning hours of December 13.  Consultation with the State Fire Marshall and State Medical Examiner indicates the fire was accidental in nature and caused the death of Stokes.  The matter is still under investigation, and this is the only information being released at this time.  The Sheriff’s Office extends our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Stokes.

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