Posted: Jan 18, 2013 8:59 PM by Morgan Frances - MFrances@kristv.com
Updated: Jan 19, 2013 2:18 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - It's been just over five months since Corpus Christi Battalion Chief J.D. Johnson ran from a burning building in Robstown to douse water on his badly burned body.
The nearly 20 year firefighter suffered second and third degree burns to his arms and face after the gymnasium roof collapsed sending flames shooting toward him. He splashed runoff water onto his body while is brother firefighters poured water from IV bags over his head.
Today he talked about the scary experience and his transition getting back to work. When asked if he remembers the thoughts running through his head after the fire burned him, Johnson responded, "You don't have time to think too much in an emergency and I really try to look forward rather than in the past and I don't dwell on what happened."
Johnson spent three weeks in the burn center in San Antonio and four weeks at home doing physical therapy. He said the recovery process was more difficult in the beginning and got easier as his wounds started to heal.
"Some would ask if this event was going to cause me to throw in the towel or hang up my hat and to tell you the truth I can't imagine doing anything else," he said.
When asked if he's seen the footage of himself running from the burning building he said, "I actually saw it one time and I haven't went back and looked at it any more. One time was enough."
Johnson still wears compression garments on his arms and hands. He says they help to reduce his scarring and he'll likely have to wear them for four more months. For now the Battalion Chief is helping with desk work at the fire department but says he's itching to get back in the field.
Even though Johnson knows fighting fires is dangerous, knowing how fortunate he was this time around has helped him to be that much more grateful.
"Kiss your wife and kids in the morning before you leave like it's your last day," he said, "and live life to the fullest."
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