Frank Henry Harshfield - Fire Man

100 Years - Three Generations - Firemen

Frank Henry Harshfield began his career in 1911 driving a horse drawn fire engine ending his long career as a Fire Marshall who was honored by his peers for ending a long string of arson fires. He was a leader in the movement to obtain Union rights for fire fighters. The group he organized gathering thousands of signatures on a petition which led to the passing of the retirement benefits program for fire fighters.
Wilburn Henry Harshfield organized Maple Valley’s first fire station in 1949. The community honored him and his family for decades of community service by establishing a fire museum that houses the first fire engine bought and used by this group. In the Museum there is a door on the Fire Chief’s office with Wilburn Harshfield’s name etched in gold lettering. Wilburn Harshfield closed that door for the last time when he passed away in late December 2008.
Frank William Harshfield grew up in the Maple Valley fire station responding to fires with his father as a child. He began his own professional career with the Seattle Fire Department in 1963 retiring as a Battalion Chief. After retirement Frank worked diligently with a group of retired fire fighters to pass legislation for widows of retired fire fighters. This action changed the lives of many widows of retired fire fighters who often died younger than they should have because of years’ exposure to toxic chemicals and smoke.
On Saturday January 10th at 12 noon the Harshfield family will be honored with a memorial ceremony by friends, family and the Maple Valley firemen. Firemen will present the flag to the last remaining fireman of the Harshfield legacy of firemen. The flag is in honor of his father - Wilburn Harshfield who died on December 23rd 2008. Saving lives has been a Harshfield occupation but making a difference in communities and people’s lives was a family tradition.

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