SEATTLE – Okanogan Fire Department Assistant Chief Christian Johnson has died of injuries received in the Sept. 1 Spring Coulee Fire southwest of Okanogan.
Johnson died Oct. 2 at Harborview Medical Center, Seattle. His wife, Pam, other family and friends were with him, according to Okanogan County Emergency Management.
The fire began around 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1, just off B&O North Road between Fletcher Loop and Spring Coulee roads. By 5:30 p.m. it was in mop-up stage after burning 142 acres.
Johnson, 55, sustained burns over 60 percent of his body. He was airlifted from the scene to Harborview, where he underwent several graft surgeries.
Emergency Manager Maurice Goodall said Johnson’s family is grateful for the loving care he received from Harborview Medical Center staff, and the unwavering support they received from the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters Burn Foundation.
They also appreciate all the prayers and support they received.
Memorials are suggested to the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters Burn Foundation, Washington Wildland Fire Foundation or the Red Cross.
A celebration of life will be announced once arrangements have been finalized.
"Everyone at DNR is holding the family of Assistant Chief Christian Johnson in our hearts," said state Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. "Christian, an Army veteran and a member of Okanogan County Fire District 3, is a hero."
She said she "cannot imagine how difficult and heart-wrenching this time has been for his family. Even though Christian was not a DNR firefighter, we consider him one of our own, and his family, friends, and colleagues are in our prayers."
The state Department of Natural Resources, assisted by the Okanogan County Sheriff's Office, is conducting an investigation into the fire's cause and how Johnson was injured.