GREAT FALLS - The Mackenstadt family was one of several that tragically lost their homes when a wind-driven fire destroyed at least 11 homes and many other structures in Gibson Flats on the morning of Dec. 1, 2022.
After a months-long process, they are inching closer to successfully building a new house in the same location as their old one.
"I was promised by my contractor that once I got the permit on the 14th of November, that we would have a house by Christmas," said Greg Mackenstadt.
Greg was on his way home from work when he received a call from a neighbor telling him there was a fire behind his house.
He said in the process of moving his vehicles to a safe spot, he was able to save five of them, but 13 of them were destroyed.
The Mackenstadt family said they are ready to move forward. However, the damage that occurred last year is a memory that they continue to hold on to.
"I feel like our whole family won't be able to move on fully until the three men that did this to Gibson Flats are sentenced, and I think that's for everyone in Gibson Flats," Paige Mackenstadt stated.
Beth Mackenstadt said the community support has been overwhelming, noting that the work couldn't be done without them.
"We appreciate all of our neighbors that came out and supported us throughout this whole process," she said. "There are some neighbors who hadn't been able to rebuild because of insurance and the permit process, so we're still here to support them as well. Hopefully down the road, they can get something going."
Greg Mackenstadt said they hope to be in their new home by April.