WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A firefighter who has served for nearly 40 years with the Wichita Falls Fire Department has been named the Interim Fire Chief following the retirement of former WFFD Fire Chief Ken Prillaman.

Interim Fire Chief Donald Hughes, photo courtesy City of Wichita Falls

Donald Hughes was named Interim Fire Chief following the retirement of Chief Prillaman on March 31, 2023. Hughes has served as the Wichita Falls Fire Department’s Assistant Chief since 2014.

Former Chief Prillaman announced his retirement in February 2023 after 45 years in fire service, including serving as the WFFD Fire Chief since July 2019.

Chris Horgen, Public Information Officer with the City of Wichita Falls, said a decision on a search for a new chief is still under consideration at this time.

According to his biography with the City of Wichita Falls, Interim Chief Hughes began his career with WFFD in 1984 and graduated from the 35th WFFD Fire Academy. In 1996, he was promoted to Fire Equipment operator and served in that capacity until November 1999.

Hughes was promoted to Fire Lieutenant in 1999 and served in that role until he was again promoted in 2002 to Captain. In November 2011, Hughes was again promoted, this time to Battalion Chief in Operations, where he served until December 2012.

Hughes was transferred to Battalion Chief in charge of the Training Division in December 2012. While serving in that capacity, he accepted an offer to become the Assistant Chief in August of 2014, where he served until he was made interim fire chief.

Wichita Falls F.D. fire engine, photo courtesy KFDX/KJTL

Hughes is certified by the Texas Commission of Fire Protection as an Advanced Firefighter, Basic Inspector, Basic Investigator, and Fire Instructor II. He also holds certifications from the Commission as a Hazardous Material Technician and Fire Officer I.

Hughes is Emergency Medical Technician trained and Wildland Certified, and holds many Incident Management Certifications. In October 2015 he graduated from the Texas Fire Chiefs Academy with the professional designation of “Certified Fire Executive”.

Additionally, Hughes serves on the Board of the Red River Valley Wildfire Academy, the second-largest academy in Texas.