Mac Hohenberger, the longtime fire chief of Denton County Emergency Services District No. 1 (formerly known as the Argyle Fire District), is retiring this year.
Hohenberger, 63, first joined the Argyle Fire District over 28 years ago as a volunteer firefighter/paramedic. He said he had had some volunteer firefighting experience from when he was younger, and he finally joined the district at the urging of a friend.
“I had a friend who kept bugging me to death wanting me to come join the volunteer district, and I saw they were in desperate need of leadership,” said Hohenberger, who has had an auditing firm since he was 18. “They needed someone to get in there and straighten up the books. I was named treasurer almost immediately.”
Hohenberger worked his way up to captain with AFD, and then was named fire chief in 1999. When he joined in the early 1990s, there were only about 4,500 people living within the district’s boundaries in southern Denton County. Over time, the district’s coverage area has expanded to cover Lantana and Northlake, and the population has boomed to about 43,000 people today.
When Hohenberger started, the district was exclusively staffed by part-time employees and volunteers, but as the demands on the district have grown, so has the staff. The first full-time employee was hired in 1999, and now nearly all district employees are full-time as the district has added ambulance services and much more.
“I know people don’t like taxes, but we’re definitely getting our dollar’s worth out of our ESD tax,” Hohenberger said.
Hohenberger said the district is currently accepting applications for the fire chief position, with a new fire chief being named in the spring. Hohenberger’s last day will be June 1.
“It will be a very lucky person, whoever gets the job,” he said. “It’s a great group of firefighters. The discipline and the way they take care of themselves, you can’t find a better group of firefighters.”
Hohenberger, who lives in Copper Canyon, said he and his wife will spend quite a bit of time traveling after he retires.