• Kyodo

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A 47-year-old man who worked at a Bridgestone Corp. tire plant hit by a fire last week was found dead Sunday in a riverbed in Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture.

Tochigi Prefectural Police said he died after jumping from a nearby cliff in an apparent suicide.

A suicide message addressed to his family was found in his car parked nearby, but it did not mention the fire, police said.

The blaze at the plant in Kuroiso, Tochigi Prefecture, broke out last Monday but wasn’t brought under control until Wednesday. More than 100,000 tires were destroyed and some 5,000 nearby residents had to be evacuated.

The man was one of the plant’s employees first to become aware of the fire, and police had been questioning him in their investigation of suspected professional negligence over the blaze.