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Fruitvale Bridge Site of Alamedan’s Suicide

An Alameda man decided to end his life on the Miller-Sweeney Bridge early Thursday morning by hanging himself from a section of the span railing, according to country transit courses.

A bridge tender (or mechanic) found the 50-year-old man’s body right before 7 a.m. on April 7.

Authorities say the individual had tied a rope to the railing in the middle of the bridge and then placed the other end of rope, tied in a noose, around his neck before jumping off the structure.

Traffic was backed up yesterday from about 7 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., peak commuting time.

On Tuesday, traffic on Alameda’s three bridges was delayed due to a brief power outage between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m.

In other estuary news, there is talk — but no official word yet — on the houseboat fire that took place in Fortman Marina on March 30. Some observers have speculated that it was caused by the spontaneous combustion of some paint, rags or other materials being used for an improvement project on the vessel.

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Boat Burns at Alameda’s Fortman Marina

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A houseboat docked in Alameda’s Fortman Marina caught fire shortly after noon today, Wednesday, March 30.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze and found no one aboard the vessel.

The Alameda Journal/Bay Area News Group reported that the live-aboard boat is about 35 feet long. It was gutted by the blaze, according to Interim Alameda Fire Chief Mike Fisher.

A veteran sailor who witnessed the blaze, said that he heard no explosion before the fire started. Some “popping” noises were heard later, though.

The plume of smoke could be seen around Fortman Marina, nearby Grand Marina, Coast Guard Island and from the other side of the Oakland-Alameda Estuary.

No other boats or structures were affected by the fire.

The burnt houseboat was located close to a covered docking area. “If the boat had been in the covered area, instead of on the downwind side, then the blaze could have spread to other vessels and been much worse,” said the witness, who preferred to remain anonymous. “Fiberglass boats are very flammable.”

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(Contributed photos by James Fryer.)