Last night in Maine, a young man died instantly when the firework mortar he was trying to launch from his head exploded, according to the Associated Press. Maine officials report that the man, 22-year-old Devon Staples, had been drinking while celebrating the Fourth of July in a friend’s backyard. It was the first fireworks-related fatality in the state since lawmakers re-legalized fireworks there in 2012. As reported by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 10,500 people were injured by fireworks last year, and at least 11 died from their injuries. The commission points out that “most injuries were associated with misuse or malfunctions of fireworks”:
Misuse included: lighting fireworks in one’s hand; being too close to lit fireworks; setting off fireworks improperly; mischief; igniting fireworks too close to someone; and dismantling fireworks. Typical malfunctions included: errant flight paths; tip-over incidents; early ignitions; and blowouts.