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Menlo Park fire chief returns to part-time duty
January 07, 2014, 05:00 AM Daily Journal staff report

Harold Schapelhouman

Nearly eight months after Harold Schapelhouman suffered a catastrophic fall from a ladder at his home which resulted in the loss of use of his legs and partial loss of the use of one hand, the fire chief has returned to work part time Monday, according to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District.

During his recovery and rehabilitation since his accident, Schapelhouman expressed his desire to return to work at the district, and district staff has been working with him on a plan to resume his job.

“I want to express the board’s admiration for Harold and his determined efforts in recuperating, his perseverance, and his willingness to return to the job,” board President Rex Ianson said in a prepared statement. Schapelhouman will work approximately four hours per day for the first two weeks, after which he and the board will determine an appropriate schedule.

As required by the Americans with Disabilities Act processes, the district is providing reasonable accommodation for Schapelhouman including a vehicle modified for his use. The district office is already compliant with ADA, and is fully accessible to individuals in wheelchairs.

“Returning to work for this great organization and community is both an honor and a privilege that I don’t take for granted,” Schapelhouman said in a prepared statement.“I look forward to continuing to contribute to the fire district’s important public safety mission and the fire board’s strategic objectives.”

Schapelhouman, 52, has been with the fire protection district since 1981 and has served as fire chief since 2007.

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District encompasses approximately 30 square miles on the Peninsula in part of San Mateo County. The district’s population is approximately 90,000 and includes the communities of Atherton, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, in addition to nearby unincorporated areas of San Mateo County. The district has seven fire stations, and also provides educational services including CERT, cadet, explorer and other fire and life safety programs.



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