Maine man shoots off firework from top of his head, dies instantly

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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.

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.


  • Mike

    While I do feel bad or his family, come on, setting off from your head? This is why labels have to be on rat poison, detergents, anti-freeze, etc. that read, do not eat or swallow for people like this who lack common sense.

    • bob

      Labels are on there because lawyers insist on them. The sort of people who need the labels do not, or cannot, read.

  • April D.

    I do feel so sorry for their loss. How tragic and horrible but the firework was on his head and he “was holding a lighter and it accidentally caused the firework to go off”….Come on

  • OldMaidWhovian

    “He only pretends to be stupid…” Er–drunk, playing with fireworks…sorry, that’s 100% stupid. That said, I’m sorry for the family’s loss. I’m going to forego the tasteless joke that springs to mind, and say this about Maine–their legislators aren’t very bright.

    • bob

      And what, exactly, does this have to do with “the legislature”? If you’re stupid enough that you require laws to keep you from blowing yourself up then you need to be out of the gene pool anyway.

      They could legalize atomic bombs and I wouldn’t blow myself up. Stupid people will find a way.

  • Mary

    This is horrible!! I am so sorry for their loss :( What I don’t understand tho is how it says he lit the firework off the top of his head, but it says he did it by accident because he was holding a lighter and it accidentally lit it and went off.. but why was the firework on his head? He must have put it there meaning to light it off, right? How could it be on ur head and accidentally get lit cause a lighter is in your hand? I think he lit it on purpose, but the accident was just the fact that he had no idea that it would actually harm him when it went off. Either way.. this is a sad story :( the poor family and friends who were there to watch it happen :(

    • bob

      He tied it to his head and lit the fuse.

      That stretches the definition of “accident” to an extreme.

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