About 2,000 people are expected to attend a public memorial for San Luis Obispo fire Chief John Callahan on Friday at the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly.
Preparations are being made to honor Callahan’s career. He spent the past five years as the chief of the San Luis Obispo Fire Department and 32 years with the Los Angeles Fire Department, where he worked his way up the organization, retiring as a deputy chief.
Invitations have been extended to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, state Sen. Sam Blakeslee and other politicians.
Callahan, 61, died of a massive heart attack Wednesday after collapsing during a softball game with the city team at Santa Rosa Park in San Luis Obispo.
Services will begin Thursday with a public viewing from 4 to 7 p.m. at Reis Family Mortuary, 991 Nipomo St. in San Luis Obispo.
A candlelight vigil follows from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Fire Station 1, 2160 Santa Barbara Ave. Neighboring businesses, including Ace Hardware and Rabobank, have offered their lots for parking during the vigil. A procession with Callahan’s family and fire trucks from the San Luis Obispo and the Los Angeles fire departments will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, traveling from Reis Family Mortuary to Monterey Street and through Mission Plaza to Grand Avenue and Cal Poly.
A horse-drawn chemical hose wagon, one of the city’s first fire apparatuses, will carry Callahan’s body to the service.
Fire trucks from throughout the state are expected to line Grand Avenue. Callahan’s family will walk a short distance to the Performing Arts Center, where a memorial service will be from 10 a.m. to noon.
A public reception will follow at the Madonna Expo Center, 100 Madonna Road, from noon to 4 p.m.