Billerica police identify elderly man found dead after house fire as town’s beloved ‘tomato man’

BILLERICA, MASS. (WHDH) - An elderly Billerica man whose love for growing and selling tomatoes earned him the nickname the “Tomato Man” was found dead Monday by firefighters who worked through bitter temperatures to extinguish a blaze at his home, officials said.

Romolo Capobianco, 78, who served for many years on the Billerica Housing Authority, was found dead inside his Andover Road home.

Firefighters responding to a reported structure fire about 7 p.m. worked for more than four hours to put out the blaze despite an estimated wind-chill of negative 16 degrees, according to Billerica police.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Billerica fire and police departments and the Massachusetts Fire Marshal’s Office.

In a statement, police said, “The Billerica Police and Fire Departments would like to extend its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Romolo Capobianco. Romolo was affectionately known as the ‘Tomato Man’ from his long history of growing and selling tomatoes at his Andover Road home and our local Farmer’s Market. He also served for many years on the Billerica Housing Authority. He will be missed by all.”

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