Police: Man Dead After Setting Firework Off on Top of His Head

A 22-year-old Maine man was killed after setting a fireworks mortar tube off on top of his head on the Fourth of July.

State police said Devon Staples of Calais was killed in what they described as a "bizarre" accident around 10 p.m. on Saturday while drinking with friends and setting off fireworks at one of their homes on South Street.

State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas told the Portland Press Herald that Staples mentioned the possibility of setting off the fireworks tube from his head to his friends, but they thought they had talked him out of trying it. A short time later, they noticed that he had placed the tube on his head and set it off. He died instantly, according to investigators.

"There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there," Staples' brother, Cody, told the New York Daily News.

"It was a freak accident," Cody Staples said. "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."

Devon Staples had recently gotten engaged, and was living in Orlando, Florida, his brother said. He used to work at Disney World, dressing up as various Disney characters.

Staples' death is the first fireworks-related death since fireworks became legal two years ago, according to Maine State Police. 

An online fundraising page has been set up for the family to cover the cost of the funeral.

Calais is on the Canadian border near New Brunswick.

State fire marshals were also investigating several other Fourth of July fireworks accidents involving injuries in Friendship, Jefferson, Lebanon and Woodstock. They said most of the accidents involved burns and eye injuries. McCausland said further details were expected to be released later Sunday.

In 2011, lawmakers voted to repeal a 1949 law banning fireworks, reasoning the industry would create jobs and generate additional revenue.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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