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Suicidal man called ‘person of interest’ in fire

By lmclaughlin
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007 at 5:08 pm in Crime, Lafayette, Lamorinda.

ORINDA — A 50-year-old Orinda man pulled from a ravine at the Lafayette Reservoir Recreation Area during an apparent suicide attempt Wednesday is being called a “person of interest” in the investigation into a grass fire near the site of his rescue.

Firefighters were called to the west end of the recreation area at the 6:14 a.m. to battle the single-alarm fire that burned three acres near the Rim Trail and Meadow Park Court. Five different fire departments worked to extinguish the blaze, using off-road vehicles and tankers to shuttle water in to the rugged trail land, Moraga-Orinda Battalion Chief Jeff Maxwell said.
Crews contained the fire at 6:59 a.m. and were still at the scene at 8:30 a.m., when police received a call from a woman who said her husband had left a suicide note at home and was likely at the Rim Trail, said Lt. Dave Dubowy of East Bay Regional Parks police.

A helicopter crew spotted the man in the ravine, 400-500 feet below the site of the fire. Dubowy said the man swallowed a number of pills in an attempt to kill myself before or after walking down the steep and rugged terrain to the bottom of the ravine, where they discovered the empty pill bottle.
The man is considered is “a person of interest” in the investigation because of his close proximity to the fire at the time it occurred, Dubowy said.

_ Malaika Fraley

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