Good news has been in short supply in California these days as residents have had to cope with the extensive news coverage revealing lives and property lost to the flames. With record-setting wildfires plaguing both the Northern and Southern regions of the state, one uplifting story features a rough-and-tumble Toyota Tundra whose owner, a male nurse, braved scorching temperatures to save the lives of embattled victims.
While the driver, Allyn Pierce, was able to successfully survive the apocalyptic scene and access a hospital from which many patients required evacuation, his Tundra wasn't so lucky. As reported by The New York Times, Pierce's truck received extensive damage, including charring to the entire body and heat so severe that the truck's many plastic pieces began to melt away.
Following the breaking story, Toyota announced that they would gift a new Tundra to Pierce, who recounted the story of his harrowing feat to the Times, saying, "I just kept thinking, ‘I’m going to die in melting plastic.’"
Pierce's truck became engulfed in flames on the way to the hospital—Adventist Health Feather River, in Paradise, CA—at which he manages the intensive care unit. He became stuck by debris in the road, and as the fire slowly came closer and closer, he held his jacket to the driver's window for insulation and recorded a goodbye message on his cell phone. Suddenly, a bulldozer appeared and cleared the road ahead, and Pierce was able to reach Adventist Health and help coordinate evacuation logistics.
Toyota responded to one of Pierce's social media posts, and the said in a statement, "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. 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."
Pierce's story and Toyota's generous pledge are the silver linings on a week of tragedy in California, where the Camp and Woolsey Fires have claimed record numbers of lives, homes, and structures. Both fires are considered less than 50% contained as of Wednesday morning.