Maine Man Dies After Attempting To Launch Firework From Top Of His Head On The Fourth of July

devon1A Maine man and part-time Disney cast member, Devon Staples ended his life in a senseless and careless way this Fourth of July by trying to launch a firework off the top of his head at a party. The firework exploded and killed him.

The friends had been drinking at the party in Calais, Maine when Staples decided to try the stunt. Fireworks are legal in Maine. The firework was a mortar tube design.

devonstaplesStaples was working as a dog walker but previously worked as a Disney cast member playing Gaston from Beauty and the Beast and other characters. His brother Cody was standing just a few feet away when he died. His brother said that Staples was holding a lighter that caused the firework to explode prematurely but it is not clear how that would happen.

His friends reportedly tried to convince him not to do the stunt but he set off the firework, though his brother says it was accidental.

As many of you know, I am a big fan of fireworks on the Fourth of July and I have favored laws that allow adults to use fireworks on the holiday. Clearly there are dangers and the combination of holiday drinks and pyrotechnics are not a good mix as tragically shown by Staples.

Staples was just 22.

54 thoughts on “Maine Man Dies After Attempting To Launch Firework From Top Of His Head On The Fourth of July”

  1. Tragic. The guy was an idiot. Education is the answer. Teaching responsibility is the answer. Draconian laws are not the answer.

  2. Fireworks and alcohol usually don’t mix well. If Paul wants a bond of 10k for the fireworks, there should be a bond of 25k for the drinking, Fair is fair.

  3. Thanks for that “professional” assessment of my birth state. I’m now going to head on over to and find out if the milkman was a relative.

  4. Olly, Being a professional observer of human behavior, particularly aberrant behavior, I can give this assessment. Some, will always remember this incident and have it change future behavior. Some will remember it for a year or two, then get liquored up and go back to being stupid. And, since it’s Mainiacs, most will be in the latter category. Lots of inbreeding up Maine.

  5. Well, the other ‘fun’ thing to do while drunk is get behind the wheel of a car. This was an avoidable tragedy but at least he limited the physical damage to himself. You can’t fix stupid but you can certainly learn from them. There is a group of people in Calais, ME. that will never forget that alcohol and fireworks don’t mix.

  6. Pun Sheriff. $25 fine which can be paid as a Salvation Army donation, Ms. Dreadful.

  7. He must have just lost his head for a moment. If anyone thinks cops are going to patrol, looking for fireworks violations, they are naïve or stupid. States have greatly loosened sale restrictions on all types of powerful fireworks to increase revenues on these taxed, dangerous products. Deaths like this occur all the time. As someone stated, that is simply Darwinism. But, the Boston Bomber bought his explosives @ fireworks stands in New England. I surmise another attack like that will bring draconian regulations on firework sales. That will interfere w/ Darwinism but also protect innocent victims as well.

  8. Told you so in the post that Darren put up about free speech and fireworks.

    You can not legislate against stupidity.

    All you do is make it harder for the responsible and sane to be free to live their lives. Legislating (and teaching) to the lowest common denominator just makes society as a whole stupid.

  9. I’ve never been one to advocate a ban on fireworks, except in grassy areas that are prone to fires. Some of my fondest memories were when my husband would buy a box of fireworks and go out into our large backyard to methodically set up the nightly show for our family. After a fine barbeque and as dusk fell into night, he would put on a record of John Phillip Susa music and begin the show. We loved it and laughed as he twirled sparklers in circular designs that lit up the pitch black darkness and then set out each firework off as the music played. It was fun and the memories bring a smile to my face, because he did it with such love.

    There are always going to be those who live dangerously and will do crazy things when they drink or on a dare. Even though this young man was officially an adult at 22, we must remember that many 22 year old today act more like 12 year olds.

  10. Regulations regarding the purchase of fireworks are basically useless. Once they are purchased, dolts like this one–drunk as a skunk and incapable of properly handling potentially hazardous materials–will either end up seriously maiming themselves or others. In this case, tragically, a life was lost due to a drunk man’s inability to appreciate the dangers of what he was attempting. Every year we read stories of people losing eyes or fingers from the incorrect handling of fireworks. If you want to witness fireworks, why not just go to your city’s local display, where there is a controlled and safe environment? You just gotta know that this young man’s family is going to sue the manufacturer of the fireworks for failing to properly warn against launching it off the top of one’s head. You see, if only the instructions had contained a warning against launching a mortar off the top of one’s noggin, a life could’ve been saved.

  11. I too came here to invoke the name of Darwin, but Randyjet beat me to it. Still…

    I feel bad for the brother.

  12. Or, it could be a spectacular form of performance art. Chris Burden nailed himself to a Volkswagen beetle, videoed himself being shot, did his Masters thesis by remaining in a box for days and days. I hope someone videoed this. There is the ‘don’t do this’ value and then there’s art.

  13. It seems like this guy is a shoo in for this years Darwin award! Banning fireworks cannot cure or stop stupid people from killing themselves. This fool would have found some other way to leave this world in a spectacular fashion.

  14. Fireworks should be regulated: age limit to purchase, fines for those caught using them under age and/or without parental supervision, fines for obvious infractions, i.e. when public notice prohibits due to fire conditions-everyone is made aware when the needle is in the red, or any other form of negligence. If someone sets something on fire, ‘accidentally’, then they should be charged harshly, not treated as the idiot they are.

    The media should, along with authorities, lead up to the moments with adequate warnings.

    This is a freedom that comes with responsibilities and should be treated as such, unless a county or state votes to prohibit them.

    The guy who lost his life is part of evolution. His only remaining contribution is to stand as an example, surfaced before every event, of what not to do, of what is stupid, of what can happen.

  15. Enonz, Paul.

    You believe it is ok for other people to do something, until it bothers you, or your dog.
    Then we should make it illegal for everyone.
    My world means more than anyone else’s.
    It is that kind of mentality that makes for sick government.

  16. Enon – I have the exact same feelings. I live in the arid west where fireworks are legal and grass fires are relentless. Telling people to not use fireworks over or on dry grass is like telling a kid to not eat candy. They can’t stop. i came home from the community fireworks display only to find 5 or 6 remains of fireworks all over my yard. So here is my proposal, fireworks are legal, anyone being fireworks must post a $10,000 bond recoverable 30 days after the 4th of July.

  17. I used to strongly support laws that allow adults to use fireworks on the 4th. No more; not since I adopted a stray dog who is terrified by fireworks. She gets the strangest, wild look in her eyes. Thousands of dogs are lost, injured or killed every year because they are terrified of being what must seem like them to be a war zone.

    It would help a lot if people would confine their fireworks to the 4th and at a reasonable hours. Instead, where I live in the U.S., we get explosions from the 3rd through the 5th, often up to midnight. The fire department cites violators but it doesn’t seem to have much effect.

    Perhaps I’m becoming a grumpy old man on this issue. Get off my lawn with your damn explosions!

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