Like most of our readers, Allyn Pierce of Paradise, CA really loved his truck. So much so that the truck, a Toyota Tacoma Tundra TRD SR5 lovingly nicknamed “Pandra”, had its own Instagram account.
Pierce also happened to be an ICU nurse in the town’s hospital. So when Paradise was ravaged by California’s deadliest wildfire last week, he hopped into his pristine white Pandra to help evacuate patients before the fire engulfed the hospital.
According to the New York Times, injured locals had gathered at the Adventist Health Feather River hospital to seek treatment and shelter. However, the advancing wildfire consumed several outbuildings and was threatening the main wing. Everyone was forced to evacuate to the hospital’s helipad a hundred yards away from the burning buildings, where they set up a makeshift triage area.
At this time, Pierce was already getting the hell out of dodge. However, when he heard the hospital’s dire predicament, the registered nurse didn’t hesitate — he pulled a U-turn and drove back into the flames to help evacuate the trapped patients.
According to Pierce, at one point he thought he was going to die “in melting plastic”, so much so that he recorded a last message for his family. And he wasn’t exaggerating: after driving through the fire, the once arctic-white Tundra now sports the patina of a burnt marshmallow. Several of the truck’s plastic bits like the headlight lens, tail lights, side mirrors and trim look like melted butter, evidence of the truck’s harrowing journey through hell.. twice.
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
Thankfully, the truck’s BF Goodrich AT35 tires held up to the heat, and it also helped to have Icon 3.0 shocks to clear the flaming grounds.
Pierce posted his burnt but proud ride on Pandra’s IG:
View this post on Instagram
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. ???
After getting a lot of social media traction, Toyota USA responded:
Not bad for a work truck that now sports a “custom Campfire Marshmallow colorway”, as Pierce sees it.
If you would like to help the Pierce family, there’s a Gofundme page to help them rebuild their home.