Posted by: Jerry Garrett | November 13, 2018

Camp Fire Hero, Allyn Pierce: The Rest Of The Story

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Allyn Pierce, from Instagram

PARADISE, California

Allyn Pierce, a nurse at the hospital here, ended up on the front page of The New York Times today for his heroism in helping patients survive the horrific Camp Fire that destroyed most of this town – including the hospital.

Pierce was trapped in his Toyota Tundra truck, along with hundreds of others in vehicles trying to evacuate the town, as fire engulfed the city.

Pierce said the flames became so intense, and the heat inside his truck so increasingly hot, that he thought he might not survive. “I was like, ‘I think I’m done’,” he told The Times. He added, “I just kept thinking, ‘I’m going to die in melting plastic.'” He even recorded a farewell message to his wife. Vehicles around him were bursting into flame.

But when a bulldozer knocked a burning vehicle out of the way, and cleared a path for him to escape, did Pierce something unexpected: He turned his truck around and headed back to the hospital, Adventist Health Feather River, where he thought he might be needed. Turns out he was, and he and fellow caregivers began helping injured patients, some of whom he recognized as his neighbors. When the hospital caught fire, Pierce and the others moved the patients to the hospital’s helipad, and continued treatment there until more help arrived.

Okay, that much was reported in The Times. What happened next wasn’t initially reported.

Turns out, while Pierce was helping others, his own house went up in flames. He lost everything. Even his trusty Toyota was pretty well singed.

Just went things looked the bleakest for Pierce, he got a note on his Instragram account, where he had posted a photo of his blackened truck, from someone at Toyota’s corporate headquarters in Plano, Texas, saying, “We are going to get you a new truck.”

He thought it might a prankster, but it wasn’t.

“We thought it was the least we could do for him,” said Scott Vazin, a Toyota executive that I talked with at an event today in Carmel Valley, California (where the smoke from the Camp Fire shrouded the community, even though Paradise was over 100 miles away). “The poor guy lost everything, while he was helping others. What a hero.”

Jerry Garrett

November 13, 2018

 


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