A nurse from Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise, California, barely escaped with his life during one of the wildfires. Allyn Pierce told his story on Instagram sharing a photo of his burned truck, after he maneuvered through the flames to get back to the hospital where he works.
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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. 🤘🏼😔
New York Times reporter Jack Nicas chronicled the story on Twitter.
Here's the crazy story of just one of the many heroes in Paradise, the town destroyed by California's deadliest fire ever. His name is Allyn Pierce, and he's the badass nurse who drove this truck through the flames. pic.twitter.com/xAL7zRf34H— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Allyn manages the ICU at Paradise's hospital, Adventist Health, and helped spark the quick evacuation of patients Thursday morning as the #CampFire swept in. Then he hopped in his truck with two colleagues and headed for safety.— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Like many residents in Paradise, they quickly hit gridlock. But unfortunately for them, they were stuck in the middle of the fire. Flames licked at the side of his truck, and as Allyn watched other cars catch fire, he thought his was next. Here was his view. pic.twitter.com/2fACEWn4tu— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Allyn held his coat against the window - a futile guard from the intense heat - and put on Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” to calm himself. He recorded a goodbye message to his family: “Just in case this doesn’t work out, I want you to know I really tried to make it out."— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Suddenly a bulldozer appeared & knocked a burning truck next to him out of the way. There was some room to maneuver. But instead of going forward toward safety, he turned around & drove back into the heart of Paradise. Here's the aftermath of his Tacoma. (The lights still work.) pic.twitter.com/LLUU1fDfYv— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Allyn ended up back at the hospital and quickly realized injured Paradise residents were also there, looking for medical help. “Now all of us are like, ‘Oh, this is what we do,’” he recalled. “We're terrible at burning to death, but we're amazing at taking care of people.”— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Doctors, nurses, paramedics & police started a triage center in the hospital parking lot. They broke into the hospital for gurneys, oxygen tanks & other gear & quickly went to work, treating about two dozen people while the fire raged around them. Photo: Noah Berger/AP. pic.twitter.com/SOOZidkfOF— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Then the hospital caught fire. The team quickly relocated the patients 100 yards away to the hospital’s helipad. Eventually authorities cleared a path to safety, so they loaded up the victims & drove out in a caravan. Everyone made it out safely.— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Photo: Jim Wilson/NYT @jwnyt pic.twitter.com/9aaX6c7HSc
Allyn stressed the triage was a massive group effort -- and that they weren't heroes. “This is what we do,” he said. “Any nurse, any healthcare worker, any cop, they were there and they all did their jobs.”— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Allyn's Instagram: https://t.co/GW2L2jS97w
Toyota USA wrote back to Pierce on his Instagram account with this message:
The story of Pierce’s bravery and Toyota’s kindness was just what people needed to hear in these painful times.
Allyn is just one of the stories of this fire. Just about everyone I've spoken to here has a wild tale of escape -- and tragedy. This fire was the most destructive and deadly in California history, and it's still burning.— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
If you want to help, here's how: https://t.co/kq3FbCCHhp
Best citizen of the day goes to Toyota. #Toyota They saw the news story about a nurse who rescued people from the fire in Paradise and offered him a new truck to replace his burned one. https://t.co/XwxmOEZMsE— Gerald O'Patrick (@Gerald95051) November 14, 2018
Thank You @Toyota for replacing his truck. I hope you all use his old one in a commercial! That’s one tough truck! Lifesaving— Liz Weed (@LizWeed21) November 13, 2018
I was just going to see if they were going to help.... this is such a wonderful story during such a hard time. Thank you @Toyota— △⃒⃘ Raindrop △⃒⃘ (@CinnamonWifey) November 13, 2018
So happy Allyn’s is being recognized for being a great person! Thanks @Toyota for helping a friend.— Nikki Lukas Longfish (@drawingnikki) November 13, 2018
The beauty abt posts like this is they don’t only inform ppl of lives risked to save the lives of others, they may go on to save the lives of readers who come upon these tweets (even by chance) when, in this climate, they desperately need to read about beauty & goodness in ppl.— Echo Stix. 🌈✊🏼✊🏽 🌊 ✊🏾✊🏿 (@EchoStix) November 13, 2018
We need a bit of good news.