Memorial Held for Man Killed in Fireworks Explosion

A memorial service is set Saturday for 20-year-old Pacific Beach resident William “Willy” Calabrese, who died Sept. 2

A memorial service was held Saturday for a Pacific Beach man who died last week following an accidental fireworks explosion at a minor league baseball game.

On Friday, Aug. 31, William “Willy” Calabrese, 20, was preparing a fireworks show for the Lake Elsinore Storm baseball game, the San Diego Padres’ minor league team, when an accidental explosion happened.

He was working for Fireworks America, Lakeside-based fireworks company, at the time.

As a result of the accident, Calabrese sustained burns to more than 90 percent of his body. The UC Santa Barbara student died from his injuries on the morning of Sept. 2.

The cause of the fatal fireworks explosion remains under investigation.

According to the college student's family, Calabrese was a Pacific Beach native who attended La Jolla High School. Friends and family held a vigil for him last week at Pacific Beach Christian Church to celebrate his life.

The local man led an active life as a Cub Scout and water polo player in his younger days. He was also a certified lifeguard.

His brother, Ron Calabrese, Jr., remembers Willy as a great sibling.

"Will was just the greatest brother I could have. He was guy that really stuck to his guns a man of principle and he did what he loved. He really did,” Ron Jr. told NBC 7 San Diego last week.

On Saturday, more than 300 people attended Calabrese’s memorial service at La Jolla Presbyterian Church. It was standing-room only as loved ones remembered the joy Calabrese brought to their lives.

Friends and family remembered Calabrese as a determined leader with endless amounts of energy who loved life. His kindness and willingness to help people also defined him.

A special surf paddle-out for Calabrese is scheduled for Sunday, a family friend told NBC 7.

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