Fourth of July tragedy: Man dies after trying to launch firework off the top of his head

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CALAIS, Maine — Authorities said a 22-year-old man died after he launched a firework off the top of his head on Saturday night, July 4th.

WCSH reported that 22-year-old Devon Staples and his friends were drinking at the time of the incident. It reportedly happened in the backyard of one of Staples’ friend’s homes in Calais, Maine.

According to the state Department of Public Safety, Staples placed a fireworks mortar tube on his head and set it off. He died instantly after the firework exploded.

The victim’s brother, Cody Staples, told the New York Daily News it was an accident. He said his brother was holding a lighter and it accidentally caused the firework to go off.

“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 said. “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.”

Staples lives in Orlando where he used to work at Disney World. He was most recently working as a dog walker.

Officials say this is the first fireworks-attributed death in Maine since they were legalized two years ago.


  • keclark

    Condolences to the family of this young man. It is so tragic that his life was cut short due to the combination of alcohol and just being silly and crazy like young people are prone to do in such a situation. Accident or not, being foolish or not, tt is said to read derogatory comments that are so apathetic and unfeeling. Instead of laughing and making jokes about his death, you should think about his loved ones that have to deal with his no longer being a part of their lives. What if this were your son, brother or friend? Have some respect! The young can be foolish and think they are going to live forever. This was an unfortunate tragedy with lasting consequences for his family. I pray for the family to be able to cope with their loss, as this has impacted their lives forever. And I pray for the hateful heartless people that seemingly have no compassion for the loss of a human being, that they may have more respect and love for others.

    • Reasonless

      Get real.
      This stunt was a stupid as puting a gun up to someone’s head while assuming the gun wasn’t loaded.
      You can call it an accident, but it was a very avoidable accident.

  • Maribeth Park

    Sadly, once again, most people commenting here have NO HEARTS or COMPASSION! If every young person who has consumed WAY too much ALCOHOL could say, with all HONESTY that he or she has NEVER done something stupid while under the influence, we would NEVER have to read stories such as this again!! This young man had his whole life ahead of him, with a bright future, and, most importantly, leaves behind his family and friends, who all LOVED him, who will forever now associate the 4th of July with this tragic event! It makes no difference, whatsoever, how or why this happened….nothing can bring him back!! YOUR nasty, thoughtless, insensitive comments serve only two purposes, first, so that you can read your stupid comments and be so VERY PROUD of yourselves, and, secondly, to hurt the people he left behind, who will read how very senseless, cold-hearted, uncaring you all really are! YOU should all be ASHAMED of YOURSELVES for your lack of compassion!!

    • Reasonless

      You should be ashamed of yourself for condoning stupidity.
      Again, what this young man did was no different than putting a loaded gun to his head thinking that it was unloaded.
      This is not a heartless comment about anyone.
      It is simply an observation.

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