A memorial service will be held Wednesday evening for a Long Beach firefighter who died earlier this month.

Chris Parker died unexpectedly at his home Feb. 8, apparently of natural causes, according to Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Jake Heflin. Parker was 48.

Parker was a 20-year veteran of the Long Beach Fire Department and served as a firefighter assigned to various stations throughout the city, as well as a fire investigator with the Arson Unit, Heflin said.

During his time as a firefighter, Parker served as "senior firefighter" at Fire Station One and mentored several firefighters throughout his time there, he said. He was known for his colorful stories, his larger-than- life personality and received numerous commendations during his career.

"Firefighter Chris Parker was a hero in the truest sense of the word," Fire Chief Xavier Esposito said. "For 20 years, Chris selflessly served and protected the City of Long Beach, its citizens and those who visited. While on duty, he was a mentor in the station house and an ambassador for the fire service. Though taken from us far too early, his contributions to our community and department will forever be remembered. Rest in peace my friend."

Parker is survived by his wife Corrine, his brother Jeff, his sister Jennifer, and step-mother Carolyn.

A memorial service is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the EvFree Fullerton Church at 2801 N. Brea Blvd. in Long Beach.

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