A father-to-be was killed when a gender reveal prop he was working on exploded , according to police.
The blast occurred on Sunday in Liberty, New York, a town of 4,200 people located about 100 miles north of New York City. State police said in a Monday statement that Christopher Pekny, 28, died when a gender reveal device he was constructing exploded. His brother, 27-year-old Michael Pekny, was injured.
Trooper Steven Nevel told NBC News that the device being constructed was just a prototype and not the final product, although details about the nature of the explosion and what the device was intended to do during the gender reveal are still unclear.
“It wasn’t meant to harm anyone,” he said. “It was just an innocent prop for a gender reveal that went horribly wrong.”
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The New York State Police and NYSP Bomb Disposal Unit are still investigating the blast.
The Robin Hood diner in Livingston Manor, which is owned and operated by the Pekny family, memorialized Christopher in a Monday Facebook post.
“We are deeply saddened and must inform you all of the loss of our dear an beloved Christopher. We appreciate the overwhelming display of love and support that you all have shown,” the post read, noting that the restaurant will be temporarily closed after the death and that more details will be available in the future.
Over-the-top gender reveal parties have grown in popularity in recent years, with parents thinking of increasingly creative, and at times dangerous, ways to find out the gender of their children.
Last year’s El Dorado wildfire in California, which consumed nearly 23,000 acres of land, is believed to have begun when a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” used in a gender reveal sparked a blaze in tall grass at El Dorado Ranch Park. One firefighter died while battling the inferno.
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The year before, a plane that was carrying hundreds of gallons of pink water crashed in Texas. The plan was reportedly for the plane to fly down and dump the colored water, thus revealing the child’s gender, although it “aerodynamically stalled, impacted terrain, and came to rest inverted.” Two suffered minor injuries in the crash.
Representatives for Nevel did not immediately reply to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.