Fire Chief David Hang Retires as Third Longest Serving Operations Leader
Stepping into the shoes of Donald “Doc” Moltrup, the longest-serving Fire Chief in the Hyattsville VFD’s history, was no easy task. But Chief Dave “DH” Hang met those challenges and then some in helping manage and grow our organization over his 13 years as Chief. Dave started his fire service life as a volunteer junior firefighter back in 1992 with Chesterfield County, Virginia Station 4. Dave joined the HVFD in 1994 and become a live-in program member in January 1996 while attending the University of Maryland.
Dave rose through the ranks during his college years at the HVFD to become Lieutenant under Chief Moltrup’s leadership prior to graduating from College Park with a degree in Fire Protection Engineering in 2001.
Others from Chesterfield County who joined Dave at the HVFD in the mid-1990’s also rose through our ranks to become operational and departmental leaders – including Dabney Hudson, now a DC firefighter and President of IAFF Local 36, as well as Scottie Southall, a Battalion Chief in Henrico County, Va.
Dave started as a fire protection intern with Marriott in Bethesda in 2000 and accepted a fulltime position as a Fire Protection Engineer with the company after graduation. Over his 17+ years with the company, he has advanced and now serves as a Director responsible for fire protection and life safety for all new hotel builds, acquisitions and conversion projects within the Americas and Marriott’s luxury brands globally, managing a team of 20 fire protection engineers and specialists. Quite a few members of his team are current or alumni volunteers and career firefighters from the Prince George’s County system.
DH served as an Assistant Chief prior to Chief Moltrup’s retirement in 2005 at which point he was elected Chief of the Department, thus becoming one of only two individuals to hold that post in nearly the past 50 years. At the date of his retirement, he was the third longest serving Fire Chief in the department’s history, behind only Chief Emeritus Moltrup (1972-2005) and the late Charles DiVincenzo (1950-1967).
During his tenure as Chief, he has overseen the continued growth and success of the organization, including:
- The full replacement of our fleet since 2006, including AFG grants supporting a portion of our engine and squad company replacement along with several equipment grants.
- Six-year growth of our EMS program from just two EMS only members to more than 50.
- Development of our ALS program from infancy to five currently qualified ALS providers.
- Growth of overall recruitment efforts, with nearly 80% of our daily staffing delivered by members who have joined in the last six years – helping significantly mitigate the loss dozens of senior members being hired by career departments (including nearly a dozen by Prince George’s County alone in that time) or being impacted by life changes such as children and job changes during that time.
Chief Hang’s dedication to the Volunteer Battalion program in the Fourth Battalion has been exceptional, oftentimes at great personal time sacrifice, like many of the participating chiefs tasked with the increasing responsibilities of this role.
Many times, in recent years Chief Hang has gone from days or weeklong business trips, oftentimes far-reaching destinations overseas in his role at Marriott. He then returns and goes directly to a 12 or 24-hour volunteer battalion shift, has a day at home, and rinse and repeats. It’s a tremendous display of his commitment to the HVFD and the county’s volunteer fire service.
Dave plans to continue serving the Hyattsville VFD and county fire service for a long time to come, helping with officer development, advancement of our live-in program and serving in other operational and administrative capacities.
Chief Hang stepped down as Chief on the anniversary of his membership, joined by dozens of HVFD members, alumni and friends throughout the day on Sunday, September 2nd on his last shift for Battalion duty.
“Twenty three years ago on this day, I joined Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Dept to become a college student live-in member and today this chapter has come to an end. Needless to say, it’s been a great ride that I will cherish forever. All the laughs, friendship, life experiences, and knowledge I’ve gained over the years have been truly valuable,” Hang said. “The close bond we created over the years between our local membership, live-ins and career staff are the key foundation for success at Hyattsville. Our alumni roster for the past fifth years (career and volunteer) is living proof that a combination fire dept can work when we all have a common goal for excellence to better one another and to pass down knowledge to the next generation.
Chief Hang was also one of six county volunteers recognized in August at the Prince George’s County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association’s annual Special Tribute Luncheon, recognizing individuals who have given significant service and dedication to the citizens of Prince George’s County. A retirement celebration will be scheduled for the Fall.
Dave lives in Bethesda with his wife of five and a half years, Fan. The HVFD officers and members would like to also recognize Fan and all of Chief Hang’s family, for sharing his time with us over these many years.
Former Deputy Chief Mitchell Kannry was unanimously appointed by the HVFD’s Board of Directors last month to serve in the role of Interim Fire Chief until the next department election for Chief.