Argyle Community Rallies Around the Fire Chief

Argyle Community Rallies Around the Fire Chief

by Susan Neuhalfen

On Tuesday, June 21, Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger made a last minute decision to go home and get a change of clothes for an event he was to attend that day. When he pulled into his driveway he saw what he originally thought was dust coming from the back of the house. It was then that he discovered the fire that had already consumed his master bedroom and was quickly moving across his home.

While many would have panicked, Hohenberger simply switched hats from homeowner to firefighter and got to work. He sprang into action and dispatched crews to his house as he jumped in himself to discover the source of the fire.

“I grabbed a hoe and started pulling sheet rock down to see if I could find the fire,” he said. “I did locate it in the attic.”

In fact, the electrical panel by the master bedroom closet shorted out setting fire to their clothes. It took firefighters about 15 minutes to extinguish the fire which destroyed the master bedroom, closet and bath. Even those who were off duty came to help. To keep cool in the triple digit heat, many of the firefighters jumped into the chief’s pool.

Although they lost their clothes and there is smoke damage throughout, Hohenberger admitted that they are lucky.

He said that had he not returned when he did, the house would have been a total loss and that he would have lost his two dogs, which would have been—in his words—“catastrophic.”

Hohenberger has lived in his Copper Canyon home for 30 years. He built it when he was only 24 years old. He said that reality didn’t set in about the whole incident until he realized that he couldn’t go home that night. That’s when it was the Argyle community’s turn to spring
into action.

The entire community rallied around the chief and set up a fund to replace his lost belongings. He and his wife lost all of their clothing in the fire and within minutes, the Argyle social media was already abuzz trying to find out what they could do to help.

Kathryn Flores, Lantana Living Editor and founder of Mission Moms, said her texting ring tone didn’t stop for hours.

“It did not take long to start getting dozens of text messages and voice mails and emails of ‘How can I help?” said Flores. “It’s the kind of community that Argyle is. They rally around their own.”

Mission Moms collected gift cards, Gatorade, and non-perishable snacks while donation boxes were set up at the Argyle Fire Station and at Jim Bridges’ State Farm office in the Bartonville Town Center. A GoFundMe account quickly met its goal for Hohenberger and his wife, Karla.

Mac and Karla are living in a rental house for the time being and, according to Karla, are starting to get back into a regular routine. If all goes as planned, they should be back in the house in about nine months.

“We actually slept on a real bed last night,” Karla said about the rental furniture that was delivered yesterday. “Honestly, we have everything we need.”

What they are most thankful for, is a community that quickly came to their rescue when they needed it most. Everything, for them, is still fresh and Karla became emotional when asked about the generosity of their neighbors in Argyle.

“We have such great friends here,” she said through tears. “We are blessed…very much so.”

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