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New York state father-to-be killed when gender reveal prop explodes

Christopher Pekny died and his brother was injured from the Sunday blast in the village of Liberty.

An explosive prop being built for a gender reveal party accidentally detonated and killed a father-to-be in New York state, authorities said Monday.

The tragic mishap occurred in the Sullivan County village of Liberty, about 100 miles northwest of New York City, a little before 11:55 a.m. on Sunday, state police said.

Christopher Pekny, 28, died in the blast and his brother Michael Pekny, 27, was injured, officials said.

The prop under construction wasn't even going to be the final product to be used for the gender reveal, but just the prototype, Trooper Steven Nevel told NBC News.

"It wasn't meant to harm anyone," Nevel said. "It was just an innocent prop for a gender reveal that went horribly wrong."

The bomb squad investigation has just started so the materials Pekny had planned to use for the prop were not immediately known, Nevel added.

With the rise of social media, more and more couples have opted for elaborate stunts to reveal the gender of their unborn baby. Some of the stunts involve incendiary devices or smoke bombs, typically with blue smoke to show the baby will be a boy or pink smoke for a girl.

A California firefighter died last year fighting the El Dorado Fire, a massive blaze touched off by a gender reveal party in San Bernardino County. More than 22,000 acres were charred.

In October 2019, 56-year-old Iowa resident Pamela Kreimeyer was killed by debris from an explosion at a gender reveal party.

"We've seen these (accidents) happening around the country and 'Don't do it' is the only thing I can say," Nevel said.