Man Killed in House Fire Ignited by Riding Lawn Mower

An 86-year-old grandfather was killed Monday morning in a raging, 2-alarm house fire sparked by a riding lawn mower in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Bernadino Pellegrino was found dead outside the home. According to the state fire marshal's office, the lawn mower was under the deck of the home on Beaver Village Way when it caught fire, igniting the victim's clothing and causing the house to go up in flames.

The fire eventually caused the roof of the home to collapse.

East Bridgewater Fire Chief Tim Harhen said Pellegrino's wife was able to escape, but there was nothing first responders could do to save him.

"Obviously something terribly went wrong and unfortunately caused his death," Harhen said.

Officials said the fire broke out around 9 a.m. The street remained closed afterward as crews worked to extinguish the fire.

Aerial footage from NBC Boston's SkyRanger helicopter showed the home's solar panels sinking into the roof as flames shot out.

Firefighters from nearby Bridgewater, Brockton, Hanson, West Bridgewater and Whitman also responded to the scene.

Neighbors said they were shocked by the death.

"It's horrible, I can't imagine, I really can't," neighbor Chris Binda said.

Neighbors, family and friends gathered nearby to comfort one another, as the family's pastor tried to help them make sense of it all.

"It's of course an unspeakable tragedy, losing a loved one like this," Father Paul Ring of St. John the Evangelist Church said.

Father Ring said Pellegrino lived with his wife and adult daughter, who cared for them. Their daughter was not home when the fire broke out.

He said while they had medical issues that kept them mostly close to home, Pellegrino had a great spirit and was like a grandfather to the neighborhood children.

"He was a very feisty man," Father Ring said. "He was full of life. He loved his family, he loved being at home, he loved working outside."

The fire remains under investigation by the district attorney's office, East Bridgewater police and the state fire marshal's office.

Contact Us