Did you know?

The firefighter comprises the main body and focal point of this design, fighting a blaze. The sculpture is realistic with an exaggerated pose to emphasize the intensity of the battle. The roughly pyramidal composition connotes a sense of strength and stability.

The design shows only parts of the firefighter’s body, as if the rest of the body is covered by fire and smoke. The high relief sculpture gives a sense of depth; the upper body coming out from the wall, as if it had just entered the burning building. The life-size bronze figure is not placed high above the wall, but instead, at ground level. This encourages viewers to interact with the figures, invoking a sense of closeness that is the aim and spirit of the work.

In the lower corner of the design, the artist included a Dalmatian running out from the wall, entering the collapsed building to help find the victim. This treatment means to recognize our “best friend” as well as to provide interest for children. The pieces are cast bronze, each piece having stainless steel bolts welded on and anchored into the brick wall.

Artist: Hai Ying Wu

Medium: Silicon bronze sculpture in concrete with dedication cast in brass

Date: Acquired by the city in 1999

Fun Facts

About the Artist

A native of China, Wu received his degree in sculpture from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute and worked primarily in the “socialist realist” genre. He participated in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and was caught in the square when the Chinese military attacked the demonstrators. He emigrated to the U.S. later that same year, and in time became a U.S. citizen, working in construction and as a dishwasher before enrolling in the University of Washington School of Art. For his masters thesis, he designed a memorial to 19th-century Chinese railroad workers which was later installed in a park in Tacoma, Wa. Since 2007, he divides his time between his home in Everett, Wa. And China.

Mosaic Benches

The two mosaic benches memorialize a Mercer Island police officer killed in the performance of his duty.

Connected Stories

Fire Fighters Memorial in Seattle's Pioneer Square

Wu is best known for sculpting the Seattle Fire Fighters Memorial in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. A design competition was held among all interested students in the UW School of Arts, and Wu’s design was chosen. He has erected similar memorial throughout the Pacific Northwest. He also created the Auto-Lite Strike Memorial in Toledo, which commemorates the violent United Auto Workers strike of 1934.

Where is it?

3030-78th Avenue SE, outside the front door of the Mercer Island Fire Station, which is next to the post office across from Mercerdale Park. .


Mercer Island Fire Dept. 3030 78th Avenue Southeast, Mercer Island, WA 98040, USA

A bronze relief sculpture of a firefighter with rescue dog pulling a child out of a fire.