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July 06, 2015

Police: N.J. man blows off chunk of leg with fireworks

A North Jersey man blew off a chunk of his leg while trying to light fireworks on Saturday, NBC10 reports.

Police said Sunday that the 52-year-old man suffered a compound fracture in his left leg and serious burns to his right leg around 9:30 p.m.

The man dropped a large firework after lighting it. The device detonated, throwing him back about 4 feet and blowing off "a large piece" of his left leg below the knee, according to police.

The man, who was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, could face criminal charges because fireworks are illegal in the state.

He was not the only person to suffer injuries from fireworks this weekend.

A Maine man died during a Fourth of July celebration on Saturday night when he tried to launch a firework from the top of his head and it exploded, killing him instantly, police said Sunday.

Devon Staples, 22, of Calais, Maine, was drinking and celebrating the holiday in a friend's backyard when he placed the fireworks mortar tube on his head around 10 p.m., said Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.  

McCausland said it was unclear whether the firework was already lit or whether Staples lit it once it was on his head.

He was killed instantly when it exploded, McCausland said.

The tube Staples was using was a reusable mortar shell, but McCausland said investigators did not know what type of firework he was attempting to shoot.

Reuters contributed to this report.