A 28 year-old New York man who was about to become a father was killed on Sunday while building a machine for an upcoming “gender reveal” party.
Major James C. Michael of the New York State Police released a statement saying that Christopher Pekny died when the machine exploded. Christopher’s 27-year-old brother Michael was also injured in the explosion, which police are still investigating at this time.
Christopher’s 34 year-old brother Peter told the New York Times that the explosion was a “freak accident.”
“The freakiest of freak accidents that I could ever imagine,” he said. Peter added that both of his brothers had experience fixing and building different things, with Christopher being a talented mechanic who loved working on cars.
“If you could think of any two people who were the closest two people — amplify that tenfold,” he said of the bond his brothers shared.
Peter also explained that Christopher learned his girlfriend was pregnant with a boy just before Christmas.
“He was really looking forward to starting a family,” he said. “He was really starting to settle down and grow up.”
Christopher’s family owns and operates the Robin Hood Diner, which is a restaurant in the Catskills area of New York. The restaurant paid tribute to Christopher on Facebook on Monday.
“We are deeply saddened and must inform you all of the loss of our dear an beloved Christopher,” the restaurant said. “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.”
This comes after a major spike in accidents involving “gender-reveal” parties in recent years. High Gloss and Sauce blogger Jenna Myers Karvunidis, who claims to have popularized “gender-reveal” parties in the first place, recently penned an open letter asking for others to stop the practice.
“Who cares what gender the baby is?” she wrote. “I did at the time because we didn’t live in 2019 and didn’t know what we know now — that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents that have nothing to do with what’s between their legs.”