Emergency Responders Were Back On The Job After Tragic Accident

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

Paramedics and other emergency responders were back at work after losing one of their own in a crash Tuesday.

Christa Burchett was responding to a minor crash on U.S. 460 in Johnson County and while she was helping a pregnant woman, Erica Brown, to the ambulance a coal truck hit and killed them.

WYMT's Angela Sparkman talked to the dispatcher working while all of this was going on and also knew Burchett as a friend.

Paintsville dispatcher Gary Melvin took the 911 call from Erica Brown and sent paramedic Christa Burchett to the accident scene.

Just a few minutes later, the next call was for help at the same scene, and this time it was for his friend Christa Burchett.

Paintsville 9-1-1 Dispatcher Gary Melvin is still working as normal.

“That's what we're here for, to save people's lives or try to save people's lives,” Melvin said.

That's what he was trying to do Tuesday morning.

He was handling four different wrecks when he says a crying pregnant woman called wanting help after another car accident.

He sent his friend Christa Burchett.

He didn't expect the next call from her partner.

“Copied and said is it an emergency? and he says yeah, 106 is down,” Melvin said.

A sheriff's deputy told him a coal truck hit both her and the pregnant woman.

Melvin listened on the radio to other co-workers trying to save them.

Both women died.

Melvin has trouble thinking about what happened.

“Lose one of your friends, your co-worker, your supervisor, that makes it even harder to deal with,” Melvin said.

He and those on the scene aren't taking anytime off.

“Not only would Christa want them to go back to work, but they wanted to go back themselves,” Paintsville Fire Chief Bob Dixon said.

They say people still need their help. They believe Burchett is still here in spirit.

Dixon says they've gotten so many calls from people wanting to donate money to Burchett's family, so he says they're in the process of setting up a bank account to do that.

We'll pass that information along when the account is set up.

Erica Brown's visitation will be 6 to 9 pm Thursday evening at Preston's Funeral Home in Paintsville, with the service there Friday at 3:00 pm.

Christa Burchett will have her visitation on Saturday from 4-10 pm and funeral service Sunday afternoon at 1:00, both at the Lawrence County Middle School in Louisa.

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