In 2012, United States emergency rooms treated more than 8,500 people for fireworks related injuries. More than half of those injuries were to the extremities; nearly a third were to the head. Although fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, residents continue to drive into bordering states to buy large quantities of fireworks for in-state use. When fireworks get into inexperienced hands, the consequences can be deadly.
Twenty-two-year-old Devon Staples worked as a Disney World Gaston character performer. He was bright, energetic and always trying to make people laugh. But this past year, during Fourth of July celebrations in his home state of Maine, Staples placed a reloadable mortar tube firework on his head and set it off. He died immediately. According to his mother and his brother, there is no way Staples would have attempted such a stupid stunt if he believed the mortar was still dangerous. Because the mortar had already gone off once, they believe Staples assumed the leftover mortar was merely a dud.
Staple’s brother, Cody Staples, was only feet away from his brother when the accident occurred. He told Inquisitr that there was no option of rushing Staples to the hospital because there was nothing left of him by the time help arrived. He described is brother as someone who would pretend to do something stupid in order to get laughs, but who would never knowingly perform such a dangerous stunt.
Staples’ mother, Kathleen Staples, is advocating for stricter fireworks regulations in light of her son’s tragic accident. Maine only recently legalized fireworks. She believes some sort of safety training courses should accompany the legalization for anyone purchasing or working with fireworks. She compared fireworks with driving a car, saying, “They didn’t just hand me a license and put me in a car.” Meanwhile, Representative Michel Lajoie plans to introduce another bill in 2016 repealing fireworks laws. He thinks a complete ban is unlikely, but hopes to make some progress towards better regulation of the dangerous explosives.
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