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Devon Staples


This Fourth of July ended up being a tragic holiday for a family in Maine.

A 22-year-old man by the name of Devon Staples died instantly on Saturday after lighting a firework on his head.

The Calais resident was enjoying the holiday celebration in the backyard of a friend's house when he started clowning around with a mortar tube on his head and a lighter in his hand. Staples accidentally ignited the firework, according to his brother Cody, who watched the horrific incident unfold just feet away from him.

"There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there," Staples, 25, told the New York Daily News.

"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."

"Apparently, he thought that was a great idea," Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, said in a statement. "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' death is the first fireworks fatality in Maine since the state legalized fireworks on Jan. 1, 2012, authorities said.

Devon was from Calais but was living in Orlando where he used to work Disney World and dress up as a number of characters like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. He was also engaged to fellow Disney World employee Kara Hawley, whose last public post on Facebook was a photo of her fiancé in costume.

"Anyone who would want to give a tribute to Devon should go out and do something nice for someone," his brother added. "Show some love to someone you don't know. That kid was all about showing people love."