Nurse ignored path to safety in wildfire; headed for the hospital instead

A fire truck drives through an area burned in the wildfire Tuesday in Paradise, Calif. Five days after flames all but obliterated the Northern California town, officials were unsure of the exact number of missing. John Locher | AP

Allyn Pierce is just the kind of hero America has been looking for. It’s a shame that it took the California wildfire to shine a light on and the hundreds of others being created daily in the horrific disaster that’s still unfolding.

The New York Times carried his story this week.

He was trapped while trying to escape Paradise, Calif. He thought he was done for, like the dozens — maybe hundreds — who’ve died in the fire.

Medical workers move equipment from a makeshift emergency room while the Feather River Hospital in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 8. Noah Berger | AP

“I was like, ‘I think I’m done,’” said Mr. Pierce, a registered nurse, told the Times. “I just kept thinking, ‘I’m going to die in melting plastic.’”

He recorded a goodbye message to his family, and put on Peter Gabriel’s song “In Your Eyes” to calm himself down.

Then another hero — this one still unidentified — came along with a bulldozer to blaze a trail through the flames. Pierce didn’t take the option of leaving. Instead, he went to the hospital where he manages the intensive care unit. He and his colleagues treated patients until the hospital caught fire. Then they moved patients and equipment to safety.

The truck? Forget about it.

Toyota has announced it’ll give him a new truck.

Like everyone else in his community; he’s going to need a new home, too. His burned to the ground.

(h/t: Paul Tosto)