Man Dies Instantly After Launching Firework Off His Head At Fourth Of July Party

Main photo: Devon Staples as Gaston [YouTube/screenshot]

UPDATE (July 7, 2015):

According to the New York Daily News, Devon Staples thought the firework he was waving near his head on July 4 was “a dud” because they had previously tried to set it off, to no avail. He was reportedly being silly and waving it around near his head when it exploded, his father explained: “They lit it and it did not go off. He was waving it around his head (and it exploded).”

ORIGINAL STORY (July 6, 2015):

According to KCTV, a young man was killed over the holiday weekend when he shot off a firework from the top of his head at a 4th of July party in Calais, Maine.

Devon Staples, 22, of Orlando, Florida, was reportedly drinking with friends and setting off fireworks for the holiday in a friend’s backyard, according to Stephen McCausland of the Maine Department of Public Safety. When Staples put a reloadable fireworks mortar tube atop his noggin and told his friends he was going to set it off, they (obviously) urged him not to.

Related: 5 Of The Oddest 4th Of July Crimes

But, according to McCausland, “Apparently, he thought [setting off a firework from his head] was a great idea. His friends they thought dissuaded him from doing it, and the next thing they knew, he ignited the fireworks and he was killed instantly.”

Staples worked at Disney World, where he would perform in costume as characters such as Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.

Related: 5 of The Craziest Firework Crimes

The young man’s brother, Cody Staples, called it a “freak accident” that happened because Devon had been holding a lighter in one hand. Cody Staples said his now-deceased brother didn’t typically make impulsive decisions, and Cody was reportedly the first person at his brother’s side after the firework exploded, noting, “There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there.”

According to the New York Daily News, Devon Staples had also been working as a dog walker and wanted to help people with troubled pets. Tragically, he was also recently engaged. His soon-to-be best man wrote a tribute on Facebook:

“All I can say is I love you man, you’re the best friend anyone could ask for, and I’ll see you again someday my friend!!” 

Read more:


 NY Daily News

Main photo: Devon Staples as Gaston [YouTube/screenshot]

  • Tam L.

    So sad! Bad decisions made with a little help from liquid courage! Godspeed! Sincere condolences to the family.

  • Liz Phantom

    7/4/15 Darwin award winner

  • Splum

    Most def a bro dude. Gross.

  • This is so sad. But why would anyone do that?

    • Rita_S

      Because he was drunk

      • Joe Marty

        Alcohol and “You name any other activity” and you are looking for trouble!!!

  • Mark Breinling

    My sincere condolences to the family in their time of sorrow!

  • Louie R Montaño

    Lol dumb ass…

    • AG

      I guess I missed the humor in someone dying. Ass hat.

      • Ronald Green

        Goggle Darwin Awards.

  • Rob Payne


    • TJ


      • Carl Campbell

        Litarly. LOL

    • Leron Cubit

      Are you retarded, you insensitive piece of shit…

      • Leron Cubit


    • Haldir Orlly

      Speaking of brainless assholes……

    • Tj Harris

      Obviously you didn’t know him. He was the farthest thing from a brainless asshole. (Literally)

      • ken

        Who’s the brainless one???

    • Kathy Higgins

      Rob Payne, You inconsiderate, heartless, unsympathetic piece of vulgar crap…….Get your mind and life together!!! LITERALLY!

    • Noldor Artisan

      And you sir not only cannot spell worth a damn…but ironically for this stupid comment are in fact the Asshole.

  • greg

    What he did would make stupid look intelligent, however I am pretty surprised he died, a very severe burn, yes, lose an eye or an ear, sure, go deaf, yes, but dead, I don’t know, it takes a lot to kill someone and a loud bang with fire doesn’t seem like it would do, unless the loud bang and flame was from the end of a gun

    • Phil

      Greg, have you considered that, maybe, it wasn’t the noise that killed him? Maybe it was the recoil of the mortar tube?

      That mortar tube hit his head like a twenty pound sledgehammer.

      • Linda L. Ashmore

        Yep. Like a mini cannon.

      • greg

        did not, thx

        • chris

          lol E=MC2. Basic stuff here. For every reaction there is an opposite and equal reaction. All the force that sent the mortar up, also sent the tube directly into his head. Equally.

          • Orlando Fontanez

            For every ‘action’ there is an equal, and a opposite reaction. The most basic law of physics.

          • Alyssa

            I think a more relative equation would be FAB = – FBA. Pretty sure you don’t need the mass-energy equivalency to explain Newton’s 3rd law. Basic stuff here.

    • Linda L. Ashmore

      It blew the top of his head to bits.

      • grace

        Yup. Very sad.

  • GeorgieAnn

    My Deepest Condolences To His Family And Friends…..R.I.P……From Kingsport,Tennessee.

  • Tennitra L Scott

    Wow so sad. Drinking increases last of fear.

  • Shhelb

    The headline on this article when shared says Maine. The article itself says Florida. The NY Times is saying Michigan.

    Something tells me this is a hoax.

    • Jason Hutto

      Your post tells me that you didn’t read the article carefully.

      He was at a party in Maine. He was from Florida. Sources identifying Michigan employ writers too jaded to be bothered to know the difference between ME and MI.

    • Lance Miller

      Read it again. The article says that the party took place in Maine but the man was FROM Florida.

  • ErnieMcCracken

    I hope hes okay.

    • TooTalula

      He died.

    • kimo-sauve

      ok ?? did you not read the caption ? he’s dead died , gone .

  • kay

    so sad

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  • Monica Valdivia

    People make stupid decisions every day and don’t die from them. Yes what he did was dumb but that doesn’t make HIM dumb. have a heart… he looks like a great guy. What a terrible tragedy NO MATTER how it happened. My heart is with him! & his family.

    • John Bakke

      he put a mortar launching tube for fireworks on his head,it was DUMB AND VERY STUPID,that friends and his own family did not stop him make them even more stupid

    • Zen999the .

      Sorry. It’s about as dumb as putting a blank gun to your head and pulling the trigger. Drunk or not, it was very, very dumb.

      And yeh, somebody did the blank gun too. An actor, who shot the wad from the blank gun right into the middle of his brain.Dumb….

    • janalyn

      I disagree, he was really dumb and stupid.

    • Beth Sherman

      well said.

      • Orlando Fontanez

        “Well said”…..really?

    • D.Colleen

      “he looks like a great guy”…why? Because you think he is attractive? What’s makes him “look” like a great guy? That is a stupid comment.

    • Orlando Fontanez

      Sorry, Monica, but he was a drunk moron. Condolences to the family, but he got what he asked for.

  • Marleneea

    This is sad and pathetic. He had a good career ahead of him helping people and dogs!! What a waste!! Condolences to his family and friends!

  • Orlando Fontanez

    Freak accident!? He did not trip over a beer can, and fall on active fireworks!! The reality is his own drunken stupidity ended his short life.

    • kimo-sauve

      that is a fact

  • Anton Dubinsky

    When God handed out stupidity, this guy went back for seconds.

  • Shadeus

    This is unfortunate. We all make stupid decisions in our lives. Sometimes it’s just too stupid. (I’m not calling Devon stupid at all…just the choice he made.)

  • amishron

    Cleaning up the gene pool.

  • Jane Doe

    Yes, so many heartless computer screen Ah*les on here! Of course we all shake our heads about this, but clearly the man wasn’t thinking clearly and it ended his life in front of his own brother, so show some d*mn respect. How many stupid things have you all done while drinking that fortunately did not end yours or anyone else’s lives? …Oh, right, you’re all perfect!

    • Sherri Windish

      I agree with you! I was about to say the same thing! He was someone’s Son, Brother, Friend & Fiance’! How about some sympathy people. We have all done things without thinking! Do not judge lest you be judged!!!!

    • Ronnie Hale

      At least we’re not stupid enough to light fireworks on our heads.

    • Orlando Fontanez

      He was dumb, and dumber. Forgive the lack of sympathy for this man’s stupidity. Sorry, but not sorry.

  • Mark

    I’m sure there will be a lawsuit from his family that will claim the firework or the mortar tube didn’t have an appropriate warning label telling users not to use while on one’s head. Then this will lead to another stupid warning label on every launch tube from now on.

  • janalyn

    When your drunk you make bad and stupid decisions. That was his. I feel for his family

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  • Michele
  • Haydee

    We got it; poor decision-making while under the juice. But negative comments at this time are in poor taste. Realize that his family has just lost a loved one. RIP Devon… 🙏😢💔

  • James LeMay

    It amazes me how someone can hide behind a computer screen and say such nasty things to people. This guy has a family, remember that.

  • kimo-sauve

    very sad , what was he thinking ?

  • Lori Dervent

    Reading the posts earlier, I can see there is very little compassion-especially when we have all done stupid things when drinking. It’s so good to know that judgement and insensitivity reign supreme at others’ loss.

  • going56
  • Liq it

    Perhaps smoking weed would’ve make him more coherent and he’d still be alive. Friends and family should’ve intervened and took that damn firework away from him. If it was me, I’d knock it off his head and make sure he be away from it.. but nooo words never do anything but a simple act of protection can mean a lot !

  • Jennifer Caleau

    Apparently his mother is trying to get stricter laws regarding fireworks because of what happened to her son. Why should the responsible people have to suffer because people do dumb things?? You can’t fix stupid

  • Lisa Raquel

    Maybe the stricter law should be that all people using fireworks must know how to read. Apparently this person did not read the warning labels.

  • Jacob

    Sorry for your lose but more laws won’t fix stupid

  • Michele Crane

    I can’t believe this crap I am 56 years old. When never heard of ‘freak accidents’ like this except for maybe, a kid or an adult having an eye put out because some one shot a pop rocket at them. Or possibly lost a finger or two for holding black cats in their hands. We legally had the right to buy any type of fireworks, roman candles, pop bottle rockets, the list is endless…..why weren’t we killed, because we new the difference of THE RIGHT WAY AND THE WRONG WAY to handle fire works…..WHY???? Because we were taught to not to do STUPID things with fireworks, AND because of people doing STUPID things our rights once again have been denied!!!!!

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  • Martha Bartha

    I remember that!

  • Denise Rae Groce

    A crazy and stupid thing to do!