The family and friends of a Calais, Maine, man who died in a fireworks accident on the Fourth of July are defending him, saying he never meant for the firework to explode on top of his head.
Police say 22-year-old Devon Staples died instantly when he placed a mortar on his head and set off the firework in Calais Saturday night. Investigators say drinking was involved.
"He was just pretending, making a joke saying 'look what I'm doing,'" said Staples' best friend, Chris Stow. "It was a freak accident that shouldn't have happened."
His father, Rusty Staples, told necn his son thought the firework was a dud. He said the incident has been misrepresented.
Staples recently worked at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, playing the character Gaston from Beauty and the Beast.
"He was always happy," said Stow. "He was just the guy everyone would want to be like."
An online fundraising page has been set up for the family to cover the cost of the funeral.
Maine State Police say this is the first fireworks related death in the state since commercial fireworks were legalized a few years ago.