After Breaking His Neck, Menlo Park Fire Chief Returns to Work

Menlo Park's injured fire chief returned to work Monday after a paralyzing fall.

Chief Harold Schapelhouman was back at his desk Monday, nearly eight months after breaking his neck in a fall from a ladder at his San Jose home.

He spent 66 days in the hospital and had multiple surgeries.

Schapelhouman is still in a wheelchair but has said he is making progress.

“I may not look the same mentally, but in terms of contributing a lot I can still contribute,” Schapelhouman told NBC Bay Area back in June.

Schapelhouman, a 52-year-old search and rescue expert, has been with Menlo Park's fire protection district since 1981 and has served as chief since 2007.

While he was undergoing rehabilitation, the department arranged to get him a modified chief's vehicle for him to drive.

Doctors estimate it will take up to two years before they know how much his health will ultimately improve.

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