• Wife of badly burned firefighter shares his story

    By: Joanna Small

    Updated:

    A firefighter badly burned in a wildfire earlier this month is still in a medically induced coma at Harborview Medical Center. 

    Doctors say the Okanagon County assistant fire chief could be there for months.

    His wife spoke only with KIRO 7 about Christian Johnson’s kind heart and the long road ahead.

    It’s tough to brag about a man who doesn’t like to brag.

    “This is kind of hard because he really does not like to be recognized in what he does, he just does it,” explained Pam Johnson of her husband. So she wouldn’t use her nerve—she referred to the notes she brought along for our interview.

    “He’s compassionate, selfless, kind, generous, caring, humble. He believes to show by his actions, always ready to help someone and bends over backwards to help anyone,” Pam read.

    And that’s probably why—Pam says—Christian Johnson has been volunteering for the department for 20 years, and why he didn’t think twice when he got the call Sept. 1 to respond to what grew to a nearly 150-acre wildfire in an area known as Spring Coulee.

    Just hours before Christian was enjoying a family fishing trip, and hours after he was life-flighted to Harborview Medical Center’s burn unit with burns covering nearly 60% of his body.

    “All I knew was he was hurt and was burned and then when I heard when he was going to Harborview I knew it was more serious than a little burn but I actually didn’t realize how bad until I got here,” Pam told us.

    Pam is grateful for the incredible support, from family and also from Christian’s newest advocate; Melissa Beard is a firefighter and burn coordinator for the Washington State Firefighter Burn Foundation.


    “My favorite part of the job is I don’t know the patient, I hardly ever know them until the very end but the families—that’s what I thrive on,” Melissa explained.

    The foundation helps burn victims across Washington state; it’s paying for Pam to stay nearby while Christian is in a medically induced coma and undergoing surgeries to remove burnt skin.

    “They say he can hear us and stuff so we go in and talk to him and pray with him,” Pam said.

    She also says Christian wouldn’t want anyone to give him anything more than prayers—but he’d like them to give to someone else.

    That’s just the kind of person he is.

    “Just do an act of kindness—just help someone. A small little gesture, holding the door or going to help your neighbor in the yard—just help someone and make this world a better place,” Pam concluded.

    Pam also asks people to donate blood to the American Red Cross and funds to the Washington State Firefighter Burn Foundation. 

    Here’s a link to the fundraising page set up in Christian’s name.
     

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