The Gibson Flats Fire blazed devastating homes, cars, and property in a 120-acre vicinity on December 1, 2021, just southeast of Great Falls.
The fire destroyed the Mackenstadt’s family home.
“I’ve never seen anything so devastating,” said Paige Mackenstadt, the daughter of the family.
Greg Mackenstadt couldn’t believe just how much burned away in the fire. “I didn’t have nothing left” he said. “I kept digging and hoping I would find any of our belongings but there was nothing. Not even the fire-proof safe made it out”
Greg was on his way back home from work early that morning when he got an urgent call from a neighbor: “I called my wife to get out of there.”
Beth Mackenstadt didn’t hesitate to warn surrounding neighbors minutes before the fire engulfed their neighborhood.
She recalled, “The only thing I could think of to do was to start pounding on the neighbors’ doors.”
“She woke me up and my first reaction was to cry,” said Paige.
Luckily, all the Mackenstadt members made it out safely, and are working to pick up the pieces and look to the future.
“We plan on rebuilding our home in March,” Greg said.
It’s the supportive community of the Gibson Flats area that keeps the family going: “Hopefully we can continue to support each other out here and be there for each other and get back on our feet,” Beth said.