Plain Township Fire Department Chief John Hoovler plans to retire July 24, according to Ben Collins, township administrator.

Collins said Hoovler, who came to Plain Township Oct. 7, 1994, notified staff members in December of his decision.

The township on March 6 posted a job announcement on its website, Collins said.

The search will include internal and external candidates.

Collins said he hopes to have a first review of candidates by April, depending on the responses.

He said he hopes to select a new chief selected before Hoovler’s departure, although naming an interim chief also is an option. He said the township trustees must approve the hiring of a new chief.

When the chief started at the township in 1994, he arrived at a department consisting of mostly volunteers, Collins said. The department at that time had fewer than 10 full-time firefighters, he said.

Now the department has 38 full-time firefighters, including three battalion chiefs, three captains and three lieutenants, Collins said. In addition, the department includes Hoovler, an assistant chief, a fire marshal, an administrative assistant and a fire inspector, as well as a fluctuating number of part-time staff members, he said.