Allyn Pierce used his Toyota Tundra to shuttle people out of Paradise as the world around him burned in a blaze that has claimed more than 75 lives.
“I was like, ‘I think I’m done,’” the registered nurse recalled to the New York Times. “I just kept thinking, ‘I’m going to die in melting plastic.’”
Pierce described to the newspaper how he became trapped on a road due to burning, vacant vehicles and he accepted that he might not make it out of town with his life and recorded a message to his family.
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“Just in case this doesn’t work out, I want you to know I really tried to make it out,” Pierce recalled of the moment. He said he then turned on Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes to calm himself during the dire situation. Luckily, a bulldozer operator appeared out of nowhere and “knocked a burning vehicle out of his way, giving him enough space to flee.”
The nurse then made his way back to a hospital where he and his colleagues set up a triage centre to help those who remained in burning Paradise.
Pierce posted a photo of his beloved truck on social media, showing the vehicle melted and singed.
View this post on Instagram
Here's my @toyotausa commercial. This truck literally saved my life today. My little town of Paradise was literally burning down around me and @the_pandra got me to safety where I could help others…twice. #campfire #perfectmarshmellow #meltedplastics #buttecountyfire #sema2019 thanks to the fire fighters, law enforcement and my fellow healthcare workers for the work we all did getting the hospital evacuated and our patients to safety. 🤘🏼😔
“This truck literally saved my life today,” he wrote. “My little town of Paradise was literally burning down around me and @the_pandra got me to safety where I could help others … twice.”
Toyota got wind of Pierce’s selfless act, praising the man for his actions, while offering him a new vehicle.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of the devastating California wild fires. We are extremely grateful to all of the emergency crews who are working tirelessly to extinguish the fires and helping people to safety,” the company said in a statement. “We are especially thankful to one hero in particular, Allyn Pierce, for risking his life and sacrificing his Toyota Tundra to drive people to safety. Toyota is so humbled by Mr. Pierce’s selfless act that we’re pleased to offer him a brand new Tundra.”
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Over 10,000 homes were destroyed and at least 77 people were killed in the Camp Fire, while hundreds more are still reported missing.
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