Fourth of July celebrations are typically explosion-happy affairs, but a young man in Calais, Maine took his patriotic duty a bit too far on Saturday when he accidentally lit a reloadable fireworks mortar tube placed on his head and was tragically killed instantly in the explosion.
22-year-old Devon Staples was best known for dressing up as the Beauty and the Beast character Gaston at Disney World in Orlando, as a video of him doing a pushup contest while dressed as the memorably buff villain went viral earlier this year.
According to Devon’s brother Cody Staples, 25, the incident was a “freak accident”, telling the New York Daily News that, “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.” Cody was present when the accident happen, as Devon accidentally ignited the firework while fooling around with friends. “There was no rushing him to the hospital,’ Cody told the Daily News. “There was no Devon left when I got there.”
Staples, who used to live in Orlando while working at the Disney World theme park, was most recently working as a dog walker and was engaged at the time of his death. His brother remembers him as a fun-loving young man who lived to help others and always jumped at the chance to entertain people. “He loved it. He loved making people happy. That kid was all about showing people love.”
This Youtube video shows Devon Staples showing off his ability to entertain a crowd, as he accepts a challenge to a pushup contest from an overconfident park guest: