Families of Waikele explosion victims file lawsuits

Published On: May 24 2012 09:52:38 AM HST
Updated On: May 24 2012 10:46:19 AM HST

HONOLULU -

The families of five men who were killed in an explosion in Waikele in April of 2011 are filing multiple lawsuits in state court this week.

The lawsuits allege that a number of local and mainland companies were negligent or reckless in allowing hazardous work to be performed in an unsafe manner.

The five men, ranging in age from 24 to 50 years old, were employees of Donaldson Enterprises, Inc.

They were working in a bunker at an area known as the Waikele Caves.

The explosion occurred while the men were dismantling illegal fireworks to prepare for the fireworks' destruction at a different site.

The explosion hurled debris 150 feet from the entrance to the bunker.

The victims who died in the fireworks explosion were Bryan Dean Cabalce, Robert Freeman, Justin Joseph Keli'i, Robert Leahey and Neil Sprankle.

Donaldson Enterprises had been hired by VSE Corporation, a Delaware company, to dispose of the illegal fireworks.

The lawsuits seek unspecified damages, including punitive damages.

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