Former Disney World performer Devon Staples died Saturday in a fireworks mishap during a Fourth of July celebration in Calais, Maine. He was 22.
Staples, who played Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast” and Goofy at Disney World, was killed instantly when he attempted to launch fireworks from his head.
“Apparently, he thought that was a great idea,” said Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for Maine’s Department of Public Safety. “His friends said they thought they had dissuaded him from doing it, and the next thing they knew, he ignited the fireworks and he was killed instantly.”
His brother Cody Staples, however, told the New York Daily News that the horrific incident was an accident. He said Staples was merely joking around with a reloadable fireworks mortar tube on his head and a lighter in his hand when he ignited the firework.
“There was no rushing him to the hospital. There was no Devon left when I got there,” Cody Staples 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.”
Family and friends are asking for donations on GiveForward to help fund the funeral.
The family posted a YouTube video of Staples in costume as Gaston working at Disney World.