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Man killed in blast was helpful neighbor


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POSTED: Saturday, April 04, 2009

Friends and neighbors are shocked that a 46-year-old man known as "Mr. Fix It" in a close-knit Maili neighborhood was killed in an explosion at his home.

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"He was a jack-of-all trades," said friend Joyce Unciano yesterday.

Friends identified the man as Tony O. Macabio. An explosion possibly caused by a pressurized metal object occurred Thursday at his home at 87-380 Heleuma St. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

Autopsy results were deferred yesterday.

Lt. Bill Kato of the Honolulu Police Department's Homicide Detail said there was an oxygen tank—different from the object that exploded—found in the home, possibly used by the victim's mother before she died three years ago.

A neighbor who lives next to Macabio said her walls shook at about 11 a.m. when the explosion occurred. A woman who lived several homes away said it sounded like a tire explosion. Her husband checked on Macabio but there was no answer.

Neighbors said he often slept during the day. At about 8 p.m. the same neighbor who checked on him earlier and another friend headed to Macabio's home and found him in his bedroom.

Police were called, and several homes were evacuated as a precautionary measure. Residents were able to return to their homes at 1:30 a.m.

Friends who grew up with in the neighborhood said Macabio always helped people and put others before himself.

His home, located at a cul-de-sac, was surrounded by several cars that he was repairing. Unciano said she spoke to Macabio at about 11 a.m. Thursday, when he told her what parts were needed for one of her cars. She received a phone call from a friend yesterday morning about his death. "He was a very good-hearted person. I can't believe it," said Unci-ano as she stood in front of Macabio's home.

Along with car repairs, Macabio also built extensions for neighbors' homes and iron gates. He also helped with their plumbing. "He was like a good Samaritan," Unciano added. "It was just a freak accident. He's going to be missed."

Friends said he cared for his father, Emigdio, before he died in 1996 and for his mother, Katsuko, before she died three years ago.