Police: Man shoots off firework from top of his head, dies

CALAIS, Maine (AP) — A young man who was drinking and celebrating the Fourth of July tried to launch a firework off the top of his head, fatally injuring himself, 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 the small eastern Maine city of Calais, said Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. Staples, 22, of Calais, placed a fireworks mortar tube on his head and set it off, he said.

The firework exploded, killing Staples instantly, McCausland said.

His death is the first fireworks fatality in Maine since the state legalized fireworks on Jan. 1, 2012, authorities said.

Calais is on the Canadian border near New Brunswick.

State fire marshals were also investigating several other Fourth of July fireworks accidents involving injuries in Friendship, Jefferson, Lebanon and Woodstock. They said most of the accidents involved burns and eye injuries. McCausland said further details were expected to be released later Sunday.

In 2011, lawmakers voted to repeal a 1949 law banning fireworks, reasoning the industry would create jobs and generate additional revenue.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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