[10/4/19] Okanogan Firefighter Succumbed to Injuries
An Okanogan County firefighter has died after being badly burned while engaging a wildfire last month.
Assistant Chief Christian Johnson of Okanogan County Fire District No. 3 passed away on Tuesday after spending just over a month in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The 55-year-old was hospitalized after suffering burns on over half his body while battling the 142-acre Spring Coulee Fire near Okanogan over Labor Day Weekend.
Johnson succumbed to his injuries after undergoing numerous skin grafts and other operations. Doctors had been hopeful that he would eventually recover from his burns. He died at Harborview with his wife Pam at his side and surrounded by many of his friends and family members.
In a statement issued through District 3, Johnson’s family thanked the hospital’s staff and the community for all of the care and support they offered during their time of need. A GoFundMe page which was established on September 3rd for Johnson is still actively receiving donations and had surpassed the $36,000 mark as of late Thursday afternoon.
Washington Commissioner of Public Lands, Hillary Franz, issued a statement Thursday calling Johnson a hero and saying that even though he was not a DNR firefighter, that the agency considered him to be one of their own.
Johnson’s family has requested that, in lieu of flowers and other gifts of condolence, that donations be made to the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters Burn Foundation, Washington Wildland Fire Foundation or the American Red Cross.
Celebration of life arrangements for Christian are still being planned and will be announced as soon as they are finalized.