Local sportscaster Jim Leahey confirmed this evening that one of the four men killed in the Waikele fireworks storage bunker fire was his youngest brother, Robert.
"The only thing I got was a call this morning and all they told me was there’s been an accident," he said. "They mentioned his name and I knew from how they said there’s been an accident with no hospital, no emergency … from that point, I pretty much knew he was gone."
Robert Leahey, 50, died working at Donaldson Enterprises Inc.’s storage facility in a former military bunker in Waikele in an explosive fire. Donaldson is an unexploded ordnance remediation company that was storing confiscated aerial fireworks in the bunker.
"He really liked what he did because it was exciting and he liked things like that. I had no idea how dangerous it was," Jim Leahey said. He said he didn’t know what his brother’s role was at the company.
At one time in his life, Robert was a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines after working his way up from cleaning planes. However he took some wrong turns in life, according to his brother, and was working to make his life better.
Robert Leahey is survived by a sister and two other brothers. "He’s the first of the family to go and it really hurts," his brother said. "He was my younger brother and I’m mourning him."
Jim Leahey was scheduled to broadcast the University of Hawaii men’s volleyball game tonight, but said he would be taking a break from that for a while.