Maine man dies after shooting off firework from top of his head on 4th of July


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Maine man dies after shooting off firework from top of his head on 4th of July

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.


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Texas Man Dies After Lighting Firework On Chest

A Texas man died this week after lighting a firework on his chest while partying with friends, police say.

Justin Bartek, 30, was a postal worker in Columbus, Texas. Columbus County Sheriff's officials told KPRC that Bartek and some friends were shooting off fireworks around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Dollar Hole, a popular fishing spot on the Colorado River.

Witnesses told investigators that Bartek ignited a tube-type firework called the Medieval Knight on his chest and then suffered critical injuries, according to KTRK. He died shortly afterward at Columbus Community Hospital.

Bartek leaves behind a 3-year-old son, who he had with his girlfriend of 10 years, Summer Jenkins.

Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover Bartek's funeral expenses.

His friend Erica Jackson told KPRC that Bartek was a kind and generous man, and said that she will miss seeing him along his route.

"He was the light of many people's lives and the world to the people that knew him, and he would give the world to any that asked," Jackson said.

Bartek's death comes just days after a Maine man died after setting a firework off on his head on the Fourth of July.