• Register
  • TOS
  • Privacy
  • @NeoGAF
  • Like

Dalek
Member
(10-13-2017, 03:11 AM)
Dalek's Avatar
Safari West owner had ‘a thousand souls’ to save from Tubbs fire

Peter Lang had a heart-wrenching choice — save his house in the fire-ravaged hills above Santa Rosa or protect the more than 1,000 animals trapped at his wildlife preserve, Safari West.

The 77-year-old owner of the 400-acre facility on Porter Creek Road didn’t give it much thought.

As the flames approached, Lang ushered his wife, employees and 30 overnight guests off the hill, grabbed a garden hose and began dousing hot spots threatening his collection of primarily African species, including cheetahs, giraffes and rhinoceroses.

When dawn broke, they were all alive but Lang’s home was destroyed.

“I did not lose a single animal,” he said Tuesday as he walked the grounds, dense smoke still shrouding pens and other outbuildings. “It is amazing.”

Safari West emerged as an anomaly in the Mark West Springs area directly in the path of the inferno that roared into Santa Rosa from Calistoga early Monday. It has burned 27,000 acres and is blamed for at least 11 deaths.

Homes along the oak-lined, twisting roadway suffered extensive damage with only chimneys and burned cars left behind. Charred trees blocked parts of the road with melted power lines dangling everywhere.

Residents were mostly barred from returning because of continued fire danger. Firefighters, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews and police were among the only people there.

Lang, who along with his wife, Nancy, opened Safari West in 1993, was back at work Tuesday with his staff, trying to restore calm.

Sunday night he had been alone with his animals. Guests in his luxury tents had been ordered out, leaving their luggage on the lawn.

As hot embers landed in the animals’ enclosures, Lang, ran between them, putting out small fires and coaxing hyenas and other animals from one enclosure to another in a hopscotch manner to protect them. Small patches of ground burned but no animals were hurt, he said.

“Peter stayed,” employee Jane Haught said Tuesday. “It’s his baby.”

It wasn’t without cost. Lang’s family compound on 200 acres a half-mile east of the wildlife preserve was destroyed. It was not clear if he could have saved it.

“I have a thousand souls I’m responsible for,” he said as he walked the grounds, dense smoke still shrouding pens and other outbuildings. “It wasn’t even a decision. This is what I had to do.”

If you're not familiar with Safari West it's a beautiful animal sanctuary up here in Northern California:





Vincent Alexander
Member
(10-13-2017, 03:14 AM)
Vincent Alexander's Avatar
That's amazing. I can't even imagine what that must have been like, because I'm visualizing some way over the top Hollywood stuff, complete with fireballs and slow motion hosing.
ratcliffja
Member
(10-13-2017, 03:14 AM)
ratcliffja's Avatar
That's a good man. I feel horrible for all those who lost their homes.
Omadahl
Banned
(10-13-2017, 03:17 AM)
I'm sure in his eyes, it wasn't even a sacrifice, just his job. That's a tremendous risk he took.
A-V-B
Member
(10-13-2017, 03:18 AM)
A-V-B's Avatar
"This is what I had to do.Ē

The ever-incarnating words of the hero.
MiddeSummer
Banned
(10-13-2017, 03:22 AM)
Holy crap, that level of humanity is beyond admirable. Kudos to Mr. Lang and the staff!
AntraxSuicide
Member
(10-13-2017, 03:23 AM)
AntraxSuicide's Avatar

Originally Posted by A-V-B

"This is what I had to do.Ē

The ever-incarnating words of the hero.

My first thought was Tadashi in Big Hero 6

Alcotholic
Banned
(10-13-2017, 03:24 AM)
The best ďzooĒ Iíve ever experienced. I hope the animals are well in this crazy time.
Iím glad he acted without hesitation.
frontovik
Member
(10-13-2017, 03:25 AM)
He made a sensible choice!
Earthbound64
Member
(10-13-2017, 03:28 AM)
Earthbound64's Avatar
Respect.
Transhuman
Banned
(10-13-2017, 03:38 AM)

Originally Posted by AntraxSuicide

My first thought was Tadashi in Big Hero 6

It's like We Bought a Zoo, only better because there's an actual plot.
KeyBladerXIII
Member
(10-13-2017, 04:07 AM)
KeyBladerXIII's Avatar
Hmm, not a fan of seeing those cheetahs on leashes in the pic but kudos to the guy for saving all those animals.

Thread Tools