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First Responder in Need

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We know our guests appreciate our island first responders as much as they do the courageous men and women who serve in their hometowns. Here’s a story we wanted to share from “The Island Reporter” in case you would like to help.

Firefighter gets much support after car accident
February 10, 2016

The firefighters, medics and EMT responders of the Sanibel Fire Department have treated hundreds, if not thousands, people who were in need of medical attention throughout the years of service on the island.

But on a late Sunday morning, Jan. 24, the call for a head-on collision on the Sanibel Causeway C span became an overwhelming wave of emotions for the SFD rescuers who responded to it.

In one of the vehicles was their friend and co-worker, SFD firefighter Carl Johanson, who was pinned inside his vehicle after a head-on collision.

“It was a shock,” said A Shift Captain Medic Robert Popkin. “Carl is one of my guys and when we arrived at the scene, it was found out it was Carl. But I have to tip my hat to the guys, they didn’t let their emotions affect the way they did their job. They just did their job well and let their muscle memory and training kick in. They did what they had to do.”

But after Johanson was freed from his vehicle and he was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital, emotions ran high back at the SFD hall.

“It was tough after,” Popkin said. “But the outpouring of care and the responses we’ve had for Carl has been tremendous.”

Johanson, who was inbound to the island that morning, suffered multiple injuries, including internal injuries and broken bones. The other driver in the incident, 17-year-old Jacob Roy Marchetti of Fort Myers, was cited by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for careless driving.

In the report, it was said Marchetti was leaving the island and his vehicle had crossed the double-yellow center line and struck Johanson’s head-on. Marchetti suffered no injuries.

There is a Go Fund Me page for Johanson, which has already raised $11,603 since Friday, Feb. 5.

The Johanson Go Fund Me page can be found at www.gofundme.com/6ffhs67u

“Carl is improving, but he will be going through his struggles,” Popkin said. “The support being shown, though, has been amazing. Ever since that first night, we’ve seen support not by just our guys, but by different fire departments, EMS, police and private citizens. We had to raise the ceiling of our goal after the outpouring of support.”

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Johanson still has a long road of recovery and rehab ahead, but he will have a bevy of people in his corner urging him on.

“When there’s a brother down and out, we are there to help and we are keeping our expectations for a speedy recovery at the top of our list,” Popkin said. “The support he has received has been very heartwarming, as well.”

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