A 28-year-old father-to-be has been killed in New York after a device he was building for his child’s gender revel party exploded over the weekend, police said Monday.
Christopher Pekny was assembling the device, said to include a pipe, in the garage of his home in the Catskills town of Liberty when it blew up just before noon on Sunday.
State Police responded to reports of an explosion at 11:55am and arrived to find Christopher dead at the scene.
His 27-year-old brother Michael Penky was injured. He was taken to hospital to be treated for injuries to his legs but is expected to survive.
The tragic incident comes just weeks after a man was killed in Michigan when he was struck by shrapnel from a gender reveal cannon at a friend’s baby shower.
Christopher Pekny, 28, was assembling the unspecified device in the Catskills town of Liberty when it blew up just before noon on Sunday
What set off the explosion on Sunday remains under investigation, a spokesman for the State Police, Trooper Steven Nevel, said.
The device, according to Nevel, consisted of some kind of pipe that was intended to be used at a gender-reveal party later that day, but the nature of its explosive material was not yet known.
Police said that currently ‘no charges are to be filed’ in the incident.
Peter Pekny Jr., 34, the oldest of the brothers, told the New York Times what happened was ‘the freakiest of freak accidents that I could ever imagine,’ though declined to specify what set the explosion off.
He said that Michael is currently in a stable condition at a hospital in Middletown, said doctors had been able to ‘rebuild’ a damaged knee.
Both Christopher and Michael were ‘very mechanically inclined’ and ‘could fix and do anything’, Peter said.
Christopher Penky, who was due to turn 29 on Tuesday, first learned that his girlfriend was pregnant back in December. They were having a baby boy.
‘He was really looking forward to starting a family,’ Peter said of his brother. ‘He was really starting to settle down and grow up.’
Christopher Penky (above), who was due to turn 29 on Tuesday, first learned that his girlfriend was pregnant back in December. They were having a baby boy
Peter Penky said he was informed of Christopher’s death after receiving a call from family members on Sunday, hours before the gender reveal was due to begin.
Peter, who lives around 45 miles away from his sibling in Florida, said he thought at first the call was part of an elaborate ruse to get him to come to the party early.
Realizing soon after that it wasn’t a joke, he said he raced to Liberty as fast as he could.
Peter said he was pulled over by a state trooper while travelling at speeds of more than 100 mph.
He said he explained why he was speeding, and after the trooper went to his patrol car to verify the story, he said the officer told him: ‘You gotta go’ and didn’t ticket him.
‘The color completely ran out of his face,’ Peter told the Times of the trooper. ‘He looked like he saw two ghosts.’
The Penky family owns an eatery called the Robin Hood Diner, in the renowned trout fishing haven on Livingston, where Christopher waited tables and tended.
In a post the Robin Hood Diner’s Facebook page, the family wrote: ‘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 Robin Hood will be closed for the immediate future. More details will be posted when we have them available. Thank you.’
Christopher also worked as mason for Liberty Concrete, his brother said.
The Penky family owns an eatery called the Robin Hood Diner, in the renowned trout fishing haven on Livingston, where Christopher waited tables and tended bar
The death is the latest in a string of tragedies blamed on faulty gender reveal devices in recent years.
A Michigan man was killed earlier this month when he was struck by shrapnel from a gender reveal cannon being used at a baby shower, authorities said.
Evan Thomas Silva, 26, of Hartland, was killed on February 6 outside a home in Genesee County’s Gaines Township.
Four or five people were in the backyard of the home when the small cannon was fired.
Among them was Silva, who had been standing about 10 to 15 feet away from the canon. He was the only person struck by shrapnel, Michigan State Police said.
Silva is said to have been a friend of the family and did not light the fuse.
Michigan State Police Lt. Liz Rich said: ‘[It was] similar to a signal cannon. The cast material exploded and sent projectiles in all directions.
‘The homeowner reported it had been shot several times. If there aren’t regular inspections on a device like this, the cast material can wear away.’
Evan Thomas Silva, 26, was fatally injured after a cannon fired during a party malfunctioned. He was rushed in serious condition to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, where he later died
The garden party was attended by a small number of family members to celebrate the pending arrival of the baby
Late last summer, a couple setting off a smoke bomb to reveal their baby’s gender ignited wild grasses inside El Dorado Ranch Park in Southern California, starting a wildfire that burned for more than a month and scorched 22,744 acres.
The fire destroyed homes and forced hundreds to evacuate. One firefighter also died battling the blaze.
It was the second fire started at a gender-reveal party in 2020, following one in Florida last March.
Also, in 2019, a homemade explosive used to reveal a baby’s gender killed 56-year-old Pamela Kreimeyer in Knoxville, Iowa.
The device was meant to spray powder but instead blew up like a pipe bomb.