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Memo Contradicts Fire Dept. Claims In Alameda Drowning

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Raymond Zack drowned 50 feet offshore at Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda on May 30, 2011 as firefighters and police watched.

Raymond Zack drowned 50 feet offshore at Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda on May 30, 2011 as firefighters and police watched.

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ALAMEDA (CBS/AP) — An internal memo appears to contradict claims by Alameda fire officials in the wake of a man’s suicide in San Francisco Bay while firefighters and police watched from the shore.

The March 19, 2009 memo indicates funding for water rescue training had been approved for the department. It was written by Alameda Fire Division Chief Dale Vogelsang.

Interim Alameda Fire Chief Mike D’Orazi said after last month’s suicide that budget cuts forced the department to abandon water rescue training. He said that led to a policy in 2009 forbidding firefighters from engaging in water rescues.

The memo was obtained by the Contra Costa Times.

Fire officials declined to answer questions about it pending a review of the Memorial Day suicide by city officials.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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