The 2018 California wildfires have been devastating, and one of the most recent fires, the Camp Fire, has already had horrific effects. Much of the city of Paradise, California, has been destroyed, 76 people have lost their lives and, according to the Los Angeles Times, hundreds remain missing (not to mention some 50,000 residents have been displaced). But in these dark times, stories of salvation, courage and hope always seem to shine through, and the story of Joe Allen and his family is a prime example.
Allen was in Paradise with his wife, Whitney, and two daughters when the fire broke out. He and Whitney immediately packed up the kids (and the cars) and left. Whitney drove one car with their 8-month-old daughter, while Joe drove the other, which carried the couple’s 3-year-old, Olivia. And while the fire was all around them, Joe — who recorded the whole ordeal — kept his cool for his little girl’s sake.
“There’s so much fire here. We’re gonna get on fire,” Olivia told her dad in the video — and there was a lot of fire. Watching the footage made this writer’s heart stop. Yet somehow, Allen was able to remain calm as he navigated the smoke-filled highway.
“Hey, guess what? We’re not gonna catch on fire,” Allen said. “We’re gonna stay away from it, and we’ll be just fine, OK? We’re doing all right.”
Allen then sang the words “baby it’ll be alright.”
Here's another video from a different fire in California (warning, this has an F-word at 2:16). It's video of a dad and his toddler daughter driving through the Camp Fire. He has to stay completely calm so she doesn't freak out, and then floors it… https://t.co/IFSI2ri3DW
— The Big Kahuna (@Kahuna1063) November 12, 2018
After a brief pause, Olivia suggested the family go.
“We should go. We should go back home.”
But Allen tells Olivia they are going to leave and will come back home when “it’s more Princess Poppy” — which is, of course, a reference to the happiest and most optimistic character in Trolls.
The good news is that, after a tense few minutes, Allen and his daughter make it past the worst of the fire, and Olivia is (understandably) thrilled. The young girl could be heard yelling, “You did it! You did it!” from the backseat. But in perhaps the sweetest moment of the whole video, Allen reminds Olivia they “did it together.” And they did. They really, really did.
To help those affected by the California wildfires, visit the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund, the California Fire Foundation and/or the American Red Cross.