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Ex-State Fire Chief to Probe Alameda Drowning

Alameda hired a retired state fire chief Wednesday to review the Memorial Day tragedy at Crown Beach, when firefighters watched as an apparently suicidal resident drowned himself.

Ruben Grijalva, former state fire marshal and head of the California Department of Forestry and Fire, will look at the city's water rescue policy, draw up a chronology of events that day and issue recommendations.

He will have full access to city documents and be able to interview employees, City Manager John Russo said.

Grijalva's report is due by late September and will be posted on the city's website.

Raymond Zack, 53, drowned May 30 after wading into the bay at Crown Beach. Firefighters said they didn't try to save him because they were not trained in water rescue and because of the possibility that Zack was violent.


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