‘He is definitely a fighter’: Doctors, wife speak about severely burned Okanogan firefighter

‘He is definitely a fighter’: Doctors, wife speak about severely burned Okanogan firefighter
Okanogan County Emergency Management

The wife of an Okanogan County firefighter is staying positive as he recovers from severe burns to more than half of his body.

Christian Johnson, a volunteer assistant fire chief with Okanogan County Fire District 3, was injured earlier this month as he fought the Spring Coulee Fire near Okanogan.

Johnson was flown to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center where he remains in the critical condition.

In a press conference Thursday, Pam Johnson said her husband was sedated, but had been moving his feet a bit.

Pam said the family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they have received from the community, as well as the from the staff at Harborview.

Dr. Sam Arbabi, a professor of surgery with UW Medicine, sat along Pam at the conference. He said Johnson is not only battling burn injuries, but is also dealing with some respiratory issues.

“He is definitely a fighter. His body is fighting and we’ll move on. It is going to be a long road. It’s not going to be an easy road, and it’s a road that has issues in it, but it is something that we have walked with other patients,” Arbabi said.

Johnson served with the Okanogan Fire Department for 20 years, according to information from a GoFundMe account. He served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army before his time as a firefighter. Johnson was deployed with the Washington State National Guard in Baghdad in 2003. He retired from the military after 22 years of service and then started his career with the fire department.

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