Howard M.Richardson, 54, a former Washington fireman, died of a heart attack July 15 in Los Angeles, where he had lived since 1966.

Mr. Richardson was born in Washington. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served in the Pacific and the Philippines during World War II.

Returning to Washington after the war, he became a messenger at the National Bureau of Standards, where he remained until joining the fire department in 1952. He served at Engine Company No.4 until 1966.

At the time of his death, he was chief engineer of the Los Angeles public schools.

Mr.Richardson had been active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars in California. A post, which he had commanded, was renamed the Howard M.Richardson Post in his honor.

He also was a member of the American Legion and an associate member of the National Council of Negro Women.

He is survived by his wife, Kathryn, of the home in Los Angeles; his mother, Aurelia M.Richardson, a brother, Francis R., and three sisters, Gwendolyn E. and Jeanette R. Richardson, and Gloria A. Coleman, all of Washington, and two other sisters, Aurelia C.Smith. of Marlow Heights, Md., and Doris R.Nathan, of Hillcrest, Md.