South Peninsula man rebuilds family's life after fire burned it to the ground

Jun 11, 2018

The cabin Alonzo Lang rented from the Petrosious family after the fire.
Credit Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Late last month, firefighters stomped out three fires in just a couple of days. Two of those blazes burned mostly grass and trees, but one burned a cabin and everything inside to the ground. Alonzo Lang rented the cabin on his friend’s property. Now, he’s rebuilding both his own life and his 4-year-old daughter’s. But he’s not doing it alone.

Lang is feeding his two pet pigs.

“This one is Chris P. He’s Vietnamese, Kune Kune and potbelly,” Lang said as he scooped more feed into the trough. “The other one, her name is Elsa. My daughter named them.”

The pigs are penned up about 20 feet from where Lang’s cabin stood off Eagleaerie Wilderness Road just about two weeks ago. You can even see where the fire began to burn the pen made of pallets, but Chris P. and Elsa are doing just fine.

“Yea, I got to come down here twice a day and feed the pigs, once in the morning and once in the afternoon,” Lang added. “It’s easy to forget that it’s happened. I’ll be like, ‘Oh, I need to grab this from my house,’ and I’ll be like, ‘Oh.’ Definitely all the things 

Lang inspects the burned seat on one of his motorcycles near the cabin.
Credit Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

that you need are gone.”

All that’s left are the pilings the cabin stood on, a plow truck and two motor cycles with melted saddle bags and turn signals.  You can see other remnants of Lang and his daughter’s belongings littered in the ash.  

“I just told her there was an accident at home. I haven’t quite told her that we lost everything yet. This winter I was cleaning out my car, had a little burn barrel going and accidentally threw one of her little toys in there. She was pretty devastated about that little toy,” Lang explained, “then to turn around and say we lost everything.”

He says he will eventually tell his daughter about the fire, but he wants to have clothes and toys for her first.

Lang and his daughter had been staying at his girlfriend’s house just a few miles away for a couple of months to help her around the house.

Lang said he was at work when he got a call about the fire from his friend and landlord, Peter Petrosious. Petrosious’ wife Leah initially noticed the blaze and called it in around 10 a.m. the morning of the fire.  

“I looked out the window and it looked like rolling fog, which is normal out here,” Leah recalled. “Something spurred me to go outside and I heard bonfire sound, but it was multiplied by like 10.”

About an hour later, firefighters had the blaze under control, but the cabin was gone. Petrosious said insurance will cover cleaning up what’s left, but everything else is a complete loss.

GoFundMe pages have been set up for both Lang and the Petrosious family. Lang and his daughter have also been receiving other donations from neighbors and the local community.

Lang fights on a local mixed martial arts team. Head Coach Kurt P. Leffler II said teammates and other members of his gym, K-Bay Martial Athletics, began collecting the basics the day after the fire.

“A lot of clothes, a lot of clothes for his daughter, a lot of clothes for him because he’s a contractor, a bunch of toys for his daughter because they literally lost everything,” Leffler said. “We tried not to take money more or less because there’s a number of GoFundMe accounts already there. So, we’re going for a more practical approach of just basic necessities.”

Leffler said donations have come in from other fight teams in the state, including teams from Soldotna and Anchorage. Leffler said work clothes for Lang are still the largest need. He added toys and clothes for his daughter are also needed among other necessities.

“It feels good to have the support, it definitely does. It makes a big difference,” Lang said.

Lang said his largest focus right now is getting his daughter enrolled for kindergarten at Paul Banks Elementary this fall and saving money.

As for the cause of the blaze, firefighters say that’s still under investigation.