Worked at Disney World as Gaston and Goofy
CALAIS, Maine (AP) — A 22-year-old man who was drinking and celebrating the Fourth of July tried to launch a firework off the top of his head, killing him instantly, authorities said Sunday.
Devon Staples and his friends had been drinking and setting off fireworks Saturday night in the backyard of a friend’s home in eastern Maine, said Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.
Staples, 22, of Calais, a small city on the Canadian border, placed a reloadable fireworks mortar tube on his head and told his friends he was going to light it, McCausland said. But his friends urged him to stop.
“Apparently, he thought that was a great idea,” McCausland said. “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’s brother Cody told the Daily News of New York that he was a few feet away when his brother lit the firework and was the first to come to his side after it exploded.
“There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there,” said 25-year-old Cody Staples, who called it an accident.
“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,” he said.
Staples’ death is the first fireworks fatality in Maine since the state legalized fireworks on Jan. 1, 2012, authorities said.
Lawmakers had voted to repeal a 1949 law banning fireworks, reasoning the industry would create jobs and generate revenue.
Kathleen Staples told WBZ Radio that she wanted her son to be remembered as a young man who brought joy to others.
taples previously worked at Disney World as “Beauty and the Beast” character Gaston, CBS affiliate WUSA reported.
“The kid, out of hundreds of people, ended up working for Disney World as Gaston and Goofy. He was talented and bright,” Mrs. Staples said.
— Movielizer (@Movielizer) July 6, 2015