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Victim of New Year’s Eve fireworks fatality identified


    Liona Spencer, left, and Keoki Medeiros


    Liona Spencer


    A relative (who did not wish to be identified) made a memorial for the 38 year old woman who died on New Years eve due to a firework blast on Komohana Street at Barber’s Point.

A woman who died in a New Year’s Eve fireworks mishap has been identified as 38-year-old Liona Spencer of Kapolei.

Her partner, Keoki Medeiros, 36, was also injured and is in the hospital under intensive care.

The couple have a 16-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son.

The incident happened in front of Pinky Tows at 91-229 Komohana St. in Kapolei, where Medeiros works.

Spencer, who was also known as “Ona,” was operations manager for next-door Paradise Lua. Both companies are owned by George Grace III, who is Medeiros’ uncle.

Honolulu police detectives are continuing to investigate the fatal fireworks incident, and fire officials said the two suffered from “flash-related burn injuries.”

“It was a blast injury but as far as what (kind of fireworks caused it), I don’t know…” said Honolulu Fire spokesperson Capt. Kevin Mokulehua.

Relatives of Medeiros said he remains under intensive care but is doing fine, said environmentalist Carroll Cox, who was asked to pass on their message of grief.

“During that time (at Paradise Lua), she and Keoki raised two wonderful children…family meant everything to her,” the relatives said in a prepared statement signed the “Grace Ohana.”

“This is a difficult time for us as Liona was not only an integral part of our companies but our family as well. She was an incredibly kind, fun-loving and dependable member of the Grace Ohana.

“Liona, along with her longtime partner, Keoki Medeiros, worked for the family business. She graduated from Waipahu High School and attended Heald College for a career in the travel industry. She came to work for us in the late 90s and helped to develop and grow our companies from the ground up. During that time, she and Keoki raised two wonderful children while being involved in every aspect of the business…from the simplest tasks to the greatest whether it was answering phones or running a full-scale operation. As a daughter, sister, mother and partner, family meant everything to her. She was known for cracking jokes, being reliable under pressure, and being a caring and kind person.

“Liona was our everything. Although she died due to a tragic accident, she did so after a living a vibrant life full of amazing moments, having left an indelible impression upon everyone that she met. She will be greatly missed. We appreciate your prayers and the kind words of condolences and hope that all will join us in wishing a speedy recovery for her partner and our nephew, Keoki.”

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    • it is already outlawed, and people who are caught selling or using illegal fireworks are already prosecuted. Not sure what point you’re trying to make besides being insensitive towards a grieving family? People die doing all sorts of activities, are you calling a ban for any activity in which someone has died? Far more people have died in Hawaii driving to work every day. Shall we ban that activity too?

      Deepest condolences to the family and friends.

      • I think folks are trying to say that driving to work, which is legal, is something that we all do. Using illegal fireworks is not only against the law but can prove to be fatal as it was in this case. Most of us don’t break the law and therefore are not harmed or injured although accidents can happen even while doing things which are legal such as driving a car.

        • my point is that far more people die doing things that are legal than illegal fireworks. So this incident is being blown out of proportion with naysayers thumping the HRS law statutes. I actually can’t remember the last time someone actually died in Hawaii playing with fireworks, legals or illegals. But people die everyday from eating too many big macs, going to the beach, driving the speed limit, hiking, crossing the road legally, etc.

          If she died doing something she chose to do and wasn’t supposed to, whether it’s illegal fireworks, smoking ice, speeding, whatever, at least her decision didn’t cost a 3rd party their life. The fact that it was done with illegal fireworks doesn’t make it special compared to anything else. And the fact that so few people have died doing it also somewhat minimizes the hazardous nature of the activity. More people die doing pretty much any outdoor activity in Hawaii than they do from playing with fireworks.

  • TV news said it was a pipe bomb, which normally is not shipped as such. it had to be fabricated here. why risk death to get your juvenile thrills? especially with 2 kids to raise?

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