4th Of July: Man Launches Fireworks Mortar Off His Head, Dies

4th Of July: Man Launches Fireworks Mortar Off His Head, Dies
Shabbonna Lake-8.jpg Bob Haarmans / Flickr CC BY 2.0

A man in Maine perhaps just wanted to have a different kind of Fourth of July celebration. Devon Staples planned to launch a firework off the top of his head. When he did, he died instantly.


Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Staples of Calais was with friends drinking and celebrating the occasion when the incident took place. His brother, Christopher, described the incident as “a freak accident.”

Speaking to Boston Herald, the older Christopher said they were celebrating the Fourth of July at a friend’s house. When it was time, Devon set to prepare the fireworks. He then said he will put the reloadable fireworks mortar tube on his head and announced he was going to light it. Naturally, they dissuaded him. Christopher said he was only five feet away when the incident happened. Next thing he knew, he already lost his brother.

Another older brother, Cody, who was also with them that time, said Devon was holding a lighter when they discouraged him. He believed his younger brother might have accidentally caused the firework to go off. The firework was designed to launch the explosive out of a small tube into the air, The Boston Globe reports.

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“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 told the New York Daily News. Christopher said they saw him waving his lighter around just joking. “He might have caught part of it and just lit it wrong.”

Cody said Devon used to work at Disney World. Dressed up in various characters, the younger Staples will talk to the little kids. He loved making people happy, Cody said.

The Seattle Times, citing unidentified authorities, reports Staples’ death is the first fireworks fatality in Maine since the state legalized fireworks on Jan 1, 2012. A ban had been in place since 1949. But lawmakers voted to repeal it, saying the overturn will create jobs and generate revenue.