SOUTHBRIDGE (CBS) – Tropical Storm Irene claimed its first Massachusetts victim Monday morning in Southbridge when a public works employee was electrocuted by a downed power line, according to state police.

DPW worker Richard Gorgone, 52, was found unresponsive by his girlfriend at around 5:30 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

State police said that a downed power line on Gorgone’s roof energized an aluminum gutter, which then energized the aluminum-trimmed railing on his front porch. Authorities believe Gorgone was electrocuted when he touched the railing.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports

“I would just offer this as an example of how important it is that people continue to exercise caution,” said Gov. Deval Patrick at a news conference Monday afternoon. “People should treat downed wires as if they are live.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

Gorgone had worked for the town since for eleven years and was a fixture in the neighborhood.

The storm is responsible for at least 32 deaths in nine other states, including two people in Connecticut and five others in New York, according to the Associated Press.

  1. Lisa Valente says:

    With all due respect Gov. Patrick, this man had no chance of knowing that he would be injured if he didn’t see the downed power line on his roof touching a gutter overhead. This could happen to any unsuspecting person. All we can do is send our condolences to the family instead of insensitive “I told you so’s.”

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