A Nurse Drove His Tundra Through the California Wildfires to Save Victims. So Toyota Is Replacing It

Allyn Pierce almost died in the process, but he still persevered

Though Pierce himself survived the terrifying drive, his Toyota Tundra didn't escape unscathed: It was burned and, in parts, melted.
Headshot of Diana Pearl

Toyota is replacing the Toyota Tundra truck of a nurse who destroyed his own trying to get his colleagues and patients to safety in the midst of the California wildfires.

Last week, Allyn Pierce—a nurse who manages the intensive care unit at Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise, Calif., a town destroyed by the recent wildfires that have recently ravaged the state—drove his truck through the flames to return to the hospital where he worked in order to offer medical assistance to locals.

Pierce’s car became stuck in gridlock on the streets, as many of the other cars blocking his way had been evacuated for the safety of the occupants, according to New York Times reporter Jack Nicas. Seemingly trapped in his truck with the flames moving towards it, Pierce recorded a goodbye message to his family and turned Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” on the radio, fearing he wouldn’t make it out.


Just as the flames neared his truck, a bulldozer knocked the cars blocking Pierce’s truck out of the way. But in a heroic choice, Pierce did not flee Paradise, choosing to head to the hospital, where he and his colleagues set up emergency triage in its parking lot—and later on, on a nearby helipad—to provide medical help to locals who needed it.

“We’re terrible at burning to death,” joked Pierce, Nicas reported. “But we’re amazing at taking care of people.”

Though Pierce himself survived the terrifying drive, his Toyota Tundra didn’t escape unscathed: It was burned and, in parts, melted.

After Nicas shared Pierce’s story on Twitter, people started to call for Toyota to replace Pierce’s now-damaged vehicle with a new one in honor of his bravery. But Toyota had already planned to do just that: The company is replacing Pierce’s truck, free of charge.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of the devastating California wild fires,” a spokesperson for Toyota said in a statement provided to Adweek. “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 may have a new truck coming, but his home was destroyed in the fires, as was the hospital where he works. A GoFundMe has been set up to provide monetary support to Pierce and his family during their time in need.

@dianapearl_ diana.pearl@adweek.com Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.