It was one of the biggest fires in the history of Minot.
...but officials with Investors Real Estate Trust -- or IRET -- say the plan is to rebuild the Chateau Apartments once more...
A fire took down the under-construction buildings earlier this month in an early morning blaze.
All that remained once the fire was out were the two elevator shafts.
IRET President and CEO Tim Mihalick says the investigation into what happened continues...however once that is wrapped up, the company plans on going back to work on the site and building again...
(Tim Mihalick, IRET President and CEO) "Hopefully at that time we can test the concrete and see if it withstood the fire and if that all works out it will allow us to rebuild. We don't give up easily in this neck of the woods so we will keep trying until we get it right."
The Chateau Apartments next to Arrowhead Shopping Center in Minot had been taken down by fire once before...right after being rebuilt following the Mouse River Flood of 2011.
That fire was devastating for IRET -- and very frustrating because of the issues that site has had with flooding and fire.
But even with this most recent blaze, somehow the folks at IRET were able to smile...
That might be hard to believe -- that is until you see what one 6th grader from Minot, who lives just a few blocks from that apartment complex, did to boost spirits there.
Perry Olson has that today.
It was an enormous blaze the bitterly cold morning of December 5th -- reducing the buildings to rubble...
(Perry Olson - KX News) "Obviously nothing anyone could say or do could bring this building back, however there was something written that at least brought some smiles to the folks at IRET." (Perry Olson - KX News) "When you saw this letter, your first thought was...what?" (Tim Mihalick - IRET President and CEO) "I have got to meet this girl!"
This is the letter -- and this -- is the girl. 6th grader Danielle Halvorson of Minot. Like many, her morning that day started like any other...
(Danielle Halvorson - Minot 6th Grader) "I was just making hot chocolate and turned around and there it was!"
After the fire had consumed the Chateau -- Danielle put pencil to paper...and really touched the staff of IRET. Writing quote, "When I saw the Chateau in flames, I cried and said the pledge..." "The Minot area isn't Magic for nothing..." and "think positive and life will get less stressful -- signed God bless you and Merry Christmas -- your friend, Danielle.
(Danielle Halvorson - Minot 6th Grader) "I felt bad for all the people who had put their time and ideas into it and so I wanted to lift their spirits and make them feel...that people are thinking of them and that they are not all alone." (Jami Sison - IRET Regional Manager) "Caught us all off guard and it was a really sweet and simple gesture. It went a long way and made its way through the company. We just appreciate it and it was a really nice thought." (Tim Mihalick - IRET President and CEO) "When I saw Danielle's letter written to IRET, it was one of those things that just touched my heart." (Justin Hammer - IRET) "When you get someone who says kind of a keep your head up and keep plugging away from a 10 year old girl...it was kind of special."
So Monday, Danielle was welcomed into IRET -- onto the staff even!
"Anytime you want to come to IRET you are in as an honorary employee, how does that sound?!..."
This new employee got the full tour of the headquarters...and a gift or two as well. It was the least Mihalick and staff said they could do, after her kind words of encouragement...
(Tim Mihalick - IRET President and CEO) "To get the letter was just a neat, neat deal..."
From a neat, neat girl...in Minot, Perry Olson, KX News.
Not only did IRET make Danielle an honorary employee at the company...she also gets to bring friends over to the part of the Chateau Apartments that didn't burn down over the Christmas break for a pool party.