What started off as a group of friends and family celebrating the 4th of July quickly turned to tragedy when a former Disney World cast member was killed in an accident involving fireworks.
Devon Staples had been setting fireworks off in the backyard of a friend's home when the accident occurred. Apparently Staples jokingly placed a firework's mortar tube on his head while also holding a lighter, causing the firework to be set off. The 22-year-old was killed instantly.
Devon's brother, Cody Staples, was present during the horrific event, and standing just 5 feet away from his brother when the mortar tube went off. While police maintain that Devon was attempting to launch the firework off his head, Cody believes it was all "a freak accident."
Speaking to The New York Daily News, Cody talked about the awful incident, saying:
"I was the first one who got there. There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there. It was a freak accident. …. But 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."
Devon was a former Disney World employee who played various characters including Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, often entertaining guests with his antics. His brother Cody said "he loved" the job and that he simply "loved making people happy." Here he is doing just that in a parade for Frozen held at Disney World one year ago:
His brother Cody said that prior to the accident Devon had been working as a dog walker in Orlando, Florida, and wanted to help owners who had pets with problems. He also revealed that Devon was recently engaged.
Devon's death, which occurred in Calais, Maine, marks the first fireworks fatality in the state since Maine legalized fireworks on January 1st, 2012.