Deputy fire chief named interim replacement for Chief Schapelhouman | May 28, 2021 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - May 28, 2021

Deputy fire chief named interim replacement for Chief Schapelhouman

Menlo Park Fire Protection District board voted unanimously for Mike Shaffer

by Sue Dremann

Mike Shaffer, Menlo Park Fire Protection District's deputy fire chief, has been chosen as the interim replacement for outgoing Chief Harold Schapelhouman, the district board of directors decided in a unanimous May 20 vote. The board announced the decision during a public session after holding a closed hearing.

Shaffer has a long history and understanding of the district's operations, having served in numerous positions since 1991. He was a firefighter, engine driver, rescue driver, truck driver, paramedic, airboard operator, station captain, truck captain and acting battalion chief prior to being promoted to battalion chief in April 2006 and division chief in 2017, according to his district biography.

He has been a longtime member of the state and federal Urban Search and Rescue Program and the fire district's local and state water rescue programs. He is a veteran of national disaster incidents, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the World Trade Center collapse and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

"Mike has pretty much held every position in the fire district," board member Virginia Chang Kiraly said on Tuesday. "He's the logical choice for continuity. We're really lucky to bring him in that role. He has operations, management and labor experience. He really is a very well-rounded person for this job on an interim basis."

The board must still discuss his salary, she said.

Schapelhouman leaves his position after 41 years with the district. His contract expires on June 30. He served as chief starting in March 2006 and has been with the fire district since 1981. He also held multiple positions during his career, from firefighter and dispatcher to battalion chief, division chief, deputy chief and fire chief. He also took part in responding to national incidents that included the Oklahoma City bombing, the World Trade Center collapse, the recovery of the Columbia Space Shuttle astronauts and the PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno, according to his district bio.

A dynamic and outspoken leader, Schapelhouman made his mark by modernizing the district's operations and equipment, expanding communications with the public and the media and bringing technology to the fore.

Email Staff Writer Sue Dremann at [email protected]

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