Devon Staples, a former Disney World Gaston character performer, was killed during a tragic fireworks accident during Independence Day celebrations. The state of Maine first legalized fireworks back in 2012, and now Staples’ mother, Kathleen Staples, is calling for stricter fireworks laws.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Stephen McCausland, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Devon Staples placed a reloadable mortar tube firework on his head and set it off.
“Apparently, he thought that it was a great idea. His friends said that they thought they had dissuaded him from doing it, and the next thing they knew, he ignited the fireworks and he was killed immediately.”
The deceased man’s brother, Cody Staples, was standing only five feet away when the fireworks accident away. Cody says his brother enjoyed being Disney World’s Gaston character, and he had a flair for entertaining people with his antics, but that he would not have knowingly lit the firework if he thought the mortar was still dangerous.
“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,” he said. “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 Staples’ mom says her son must have thought the fireworks mortar was a dud since it had been previously used. She also believes he would not have tried the stunt if he thought it was dangerous.
“That would’ve been suicide. I can’t see a happy boy wanting to destroy himself. He believed it was a dud, he stuck it over his head and he was goofing off,” she said. “I spent 22 years keeping that boy safe. Do not drink, you need to have a designated sober person that is making life and death decisions with these feelings.”
Kathleen Staples also believes there should be stricter fireworks laws based upon the accident. Disney World’s Gaston was the first person to die since Maine legalized fireworks, and she believes there should be a requirement for safety training courses for anyone who wishes to work with or handle fireworks.
“At least it’d be a little bit more than, ‘Here you go,'” Staples said. “That’s an explosive. They didn’t just hand me a license and put me in the car.”
Democratic Rep. Michel Lajoie wants Maine’s fireworks laws to be repealed. With Devon Staples’ death, Lajoie seeks to introduce another bill in 2016, but he thinks a fireworks ban is unlikely.
“They’re going to say, ‘Well, you can’t regulate stupidity’… and it’s true, you can’t. But the fact of the matter is you have to try something,” Lajoie said. “I’m not giving up.”
[Image via Daily Dot]