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Gender-reveal device explodes, kills father-to-be who built it

The victim's brother also was injured in the explosion.
Ambulance speeding at night in New York City
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/ Source: TODAY

Preparations for a gender-reveal party turned fatal for one upstate New York man over the weekend.

Christopher Pekny, a 28-year-old expectant father from Liberty, New York, died on Sunday after a device he was building for a gender-reveal party exploded.

New York State Police confirmed details of the incident with NBC New York and revealed that officers responded to reports of an explosion around at around noon on Sunday. According to a spokesperson for the department, Pekny was building and planning to use the device at his child's gender-reveal party.

Pekny's younger brother, Michael Pekny, also was on the scene at the time of the explosion and was injured. Medical professionals transported the 27-year-old to Garnet Health Medical Center in Middletown, New York, where he was treated for a leg injury.

It's unclear what caused the device to explode, but a spokesman told the Times Herald-Record newspaper that it "was not being built or made for malicious purposes."

According to the New York State Police website, the incident is under investigation by the New York State Police and the New York State Police Bomb Disposal Unit.

Gender-reveal parties are supposed to be joyful occasions for expectant parents, and it's a trend that's exploded in popularity in recent years. Couples have gotten pretty creative and have sought out-of-the-box ways to announce the gender of their expectant child.

Unfortunately, injuries related to gender-reveal parties have been reported on occasion. Earlier this month, a 26-year-old Michigan man was killed when a small cannon device blew up during a baby shower.

In 2019, an Iowa woman was killed by debris from an explosion at a gender-reveal party and was pronounced dead on the scene. That same year, a Texas plane was supposed to drop 350 gallons of pink water as part of a gender-reveal party, but it crashed and injured a passenger.

The year before, a gender-reveal party in Tucson, Arizona, resulted in a massive fire that caused more than $8 million in damages after a man shot at a target that contained an explosive substance.

In 2020, a Massachusetts man was hit in the crotch by a powder cannon during a gender-reveal video that went wrong.

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