His story has gone viral after it was picked up by New York Times journalist Jack Nicas. Pierce posted a photo of his Toyota after the fire, with clear burn marks on both sides and a story of how much he had depended on it to return to Paradise twice to help out people who had become stuck.
Nicas is offering more context to Pierce’s heroic story, as you can see in the tweets below. Turns out, Pierce had gotten out safely when he decided to return to see if he could help. He manages the ICU at Adventist Health Feather River Hospital, so he knew his expertise would come in handy.
He became stuck on his way out, with flames licking the sides of the car, melting the headlights and the side mirrors. He was able to get out with help from the firefighters, and then he decided to go back in – this time to reach the hospital he used to work.
There, together with other nurses and doctors, he saw to patients outside in the parking lot, while the fire consumed the hospital, until help arrived and everyone was evacuated.
Pierce’s initial intention was to tell his story and praise Toyota for making such a sturdy truck. The carmaker soon learned all the details of the tale and decided to offer him a brand new truck.
“We are humbled you’d risk your life and Toyota Tundra to drive people to safety. Don’t worry about your truck, we’re honored to get you a new one!” Toyota told Pierce on social media. Pierce is now raising money to rebuild his home.
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
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
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
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