State police say a 52-year-old Southbridge man was killed after he touched a railing on his front porch that had become electrified by downed high-tension power lines.
The victim has been identified as Richard Gorgone, a public works employee in the town. His body was discovered early Monday by his girlfriend on the front porch of his home.
He is believed to be the first death in Massachusetts related to Tropical Storm Irene. The Associated Press reports that there have been at least 33 Irene-related deaths nationwide.
Investigators said a large tree down the street from Gorgone's home fell on high-tension lines during the storm, causing a line attached to a utility pole in front of the home to land on the roof. That, in turn, apparently electrified the aluminum-trimmed railing on the porch.
Massachusetts Emergency Management Public Information Officer Scott McLeod said that Massachusetts residents should treat storm damage carefully.
"As folks are getting out there to do their cleanup, it really is a reminder that safety is number one," McLeod said. "If you see any type of downed power line, make sure folks are treating it as a live wire and treat it accordingly."
Gov. Deval Patrick said his thoughts are with the victim's family and friends.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
This program aired on August 29, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.