(RNN) - When Allyn Pierce arrived to work at Adventist Health Feather River hospital Nov. 8, he didn’t know he would eventually become a hero for shuttling patients and coworkers from the deadly Camp Fire in Paradise, CA.
Pierce used music to help calm his passengers from the terrifying scenery surrounding his truck, so he turned on Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” Pierce said he was scared inside although he and his passengers sang the lyrics together.
“I was calm because I’m a nurse, and that’s what we do,” Pierce told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “But I was terrified. … I really did think I was going to die."
Like many residents in Paradise, they quickly hit gridlock. But unfortunately for them, they were stuck in the middle of the fire. Flames licked at the side of his truck, and as Allyn watched other cars catch fire, he thought his was next. Here was his view. pic.twitter.com/2fACEWn4tu
— Jack Nicas (@jacknicas) November 13, 2018
Uncertain of whether he would survive, Pierce recorded a heartfelt goodbye message for his family, saying, “Just in case this doesn’t work out, I want you to know I really tried to make it out.”
Then out of nowhere, reports say a bulldozer appeared, making a pathway for his truck to resume its journey to safety.
Details about Pierce’s heroic day was posted to Twitter, and thousands retweeted it. On Instagram, Pierce recalled the experience and posted pictures of damage the truck he affectionately calls “The Pandra” suffered during its dangerous trek.
And that’s when Toyota officials took notice.
“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 officials wrote to Pierce in an Instagram comment.
Like many others, Pierce also lost his home in the deadly Camp Fire, and a GoFundMe has been set up to help Pierce and his family recover.
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