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Man dies after shooting off firework from top of his head

Technically Incorrect: Despite a government safety YouTube video that warns people about keeping their heads away from fireworks, a Maine man deliberately places a fireworks mortar tube on his head.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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A scene from the graphic government fireworks safety video. US CPSC/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

No amount of warnings is ever enough.

Neither is any amount of scare tactics.

On Saturday, as Americans were celebrating Independence Day, 22-year-old Devon Staples was in the backyard of a friend's home in Calais, Maine.

As the Associated Press reports, Staples decided to place a fireworks mortar tube on his head. He then set it off.

He was instantly killed.

This death comes despite a graphic YouTube video released by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission warning of the dangers of fireworks. The video specifically warned of the dangers of placing one's head anywhere near them.

It reminded people never to relight a dud, always to have water handy and always ensure that bottle rockets have a clear path. It explained how putting one's head anywhere near a so-called aerial device could result in quite literally, having your head blown off.

However, even in this video, the CPSC didn't imagine that anyone would actually want to put a mortar tube on their heads and then attempt launch.

I have contacted the state Department of Public Safety to request comment and to get confirmation that in Staples's case, alcohol was involved, as some reports have suggested. I will update, should I hear.

The CPSC's annual fireworks report (PDF) shows at least 11 deaths occurred in nonoccupational fireworks-related deaths in 2014. Four died in house fires, seven as a direct result of fireworks impact. 10,500 people were injured in fireworks-related incidents.

Of those, 7,000 were during the period June 20-July 20. Some 74 percent of those injured were male, while 35 percent of those injured were below the age of 15. Injuries to the head, face or ears accounted for 19 percent of all injuries.