Bunker where fireworks explosion killed 5 will be leased or sold - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Bunker where fireworks explosion killed 5 will be leased or sold soon

WAIKELE,OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's not an ideal gathering place for the family of Justin Kelii. An old bunker, # A-21, filled with horrible memories. But the Waikele cave is where they gather every year to remember him. They bring flowers and balloons, and share stories.

On April 8, 2011, Kelii was one of five men killed in a powerful blast while they were working to dismantle fireworks.

"This is just such a big deal for me and my family because we still want to hang on to the memory, even though that's where the incident actually happened, we can still gather." says Jaymee Kelii, Justin's sister.

But the family grew worried that the bunker visits would end after a letter from Savio Realty arrived late last month, saying a tenant could be moving in soon and that tenant could prevent them from having access.

Kelii's aunt started an online petition, hoping to save the tradition.

Company president -- Peter Savio -- says he's confident the cave won't be occupied before the anniversary.

"Even once the cave is rented, whoever rents the cave will be told that this is the cave of the explosion and we'll probably ask that they allow the family to come out once a year and have a small service," says Savio, "It's only fair."

Kelii's sister says the family has occasionally talked about trying to purchase A-21 over the years, so they could maintain it as a memorial. Turns out, Savio Realty is looking to sell units for commercial storage, including A-21.

"The cave is vacant, it can be sold to anyone, this particular cave, if the family wants it, I'll hold it for them," says Savio.

"I feel very grateful at the moment," says Kelii's sister, who hopes the sale can happen so that they continue their annual April visits to remember him.

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