Menlo Park retains expert fire chief, the only quadriplegic fire chief in the country

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Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman's contract has been extended for up to three years by the fire district board, the chief said Saturday.

The board voted unanimously last week to extend the employment contract, starting July 1 and running through as late as July 1, 2021.

The chief started his career with the Fire District 38 years ago, in 1981.

He became chief in 2007.

Schapelhouman has seen his own share of personal challenges.

While trimming bushes in his back yard in 2013, he fell off a ladder, breaking his neck and becoming a quadriplegic.

He continues to fulfill his duties just as always, using a wheelchair.

"I truly feel so fortunate to be here each day," Schapelhouman said. "I love this organization, what it represents, and the people working here who do so many incredible things in service to our communities."

Bay City News contributed to this story.