A man was killed after setting a fireworks mortar tube on top of his head and setting it off during a Fourth of July party in Maine.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Staples ‘Died Instantly’ After Setting off the Firework
Police told the Bangor Daily News that Staples “died instantly” of a head injury.
The accident happened at about 10 p.m. Saturday, police told the newspaper.
“When he suggested he was going to do this, his friends gathered around him and they thought they had convinced him not to do it,” Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland told the newspaper. He said Staples set off the explosive before they could react.
McCausland told the newspaper that it was a reloadable mortar tube firework, like the one seen above, which is available in stores across Maine.
2. His Brother Says Staples Accidentally Set Off the Firework
Staples’ brother, Cody, told the New York Daily News that his brother was holding a lighter and accidentally set the firework off while holding it on his head.
According to WCSH, Staples and his friends were drinking before the accident occurred.
“I was the first one who got there. There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there,” his brother told the Daily News. “It was a freak accident. … But Devon was not the kind of person who would do something stupid. He was the kind of person who would pretend to do something stupid to make people laugh.”
Cody Staples, told the Boston Herald that Devon thought it was a dud and put the mortar to his head as a joke. It then exploded, Christopher said:
We’re thinking he was just waving his lighter around just joking and he might have caught part of it and just lit it wrong. The pressure from the explosion that was supposed to be 50 feet in the air, exploded directly above his head. It did not take it off. It made a ‘whump’ sound, like a failed explosion.
He’s not an idiot. If the thing had gone off right, it would have been fine, and we would have told him not to do anything that stupid again. We grew up in Maine and we grew up with access to a lot of fun stuff, and we had been in dangerous situations and we all walked away from those fine.
A 47-year-old Michigan man was killed in front of his fmaily on June 28 in a similar incident, and police said alcohol was likely a factor there as well, according to USA Today. The man died after the fireworks mortar he was holding to his head exploded.
3. He Lived in Florida & Used to Work as a Character at Disney World
“He loved it. He loved making people happy,” Cody Staples told the Daily News about his brother. “Anyone who would want to give a tribute to Devon should go out and do something nice for someone. Show some love to someone you don’t know. That kid was all about showing people love.”
Staples who was engaged, listed his current occupation as being self-employed as a “Dog Trainer, Dog walker, Dog Sitter, Dog Lover, Doggy Daycare.”
Staples studied at Washington County Community College in Calais.
4. Maine Legalized Fireworks in 2012
Lawmakers in Maine legalized fireworks in 2012. Staples’ death is the first fireworks-related fatality since then.
The state fire marshal said there were several non-fatal injuries due to fireworks accidents during the Fourth of July holiday, the Bangor Daily News reported.
The state allows only the sale of consumer fireworks, with some exceptions, such as missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners and bottle rockets, and fireworks banned by federal law.
5. There Were 11 Fireworks-Related Deaths in the United States in 2014
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 11 people died in fireworks-related accidents in 2014.
The commission reported that there were eight fireworks-related deaths in 2013.