An explosion at a Michigan baby shower over the past weekend resulted in the death of one attendee. Evan Thomas Silva, 26, was one of a handful of attendees present when an antique cannon exploded, sending shrapnel flying for dozens of feet.
The baby shower took place in Genesee County, Michigan on the evening of Saturday, February 6. According to police, party-goers wanted to celebrate the expected baby’s coming arrival with a bang.
“The cannon is designed to create a big flash, a loud noise and create smoke,” read a statement from Michigan State Police (MSP). “The cannon did not contain any projectiles, but it is suspected that the gun powder loaded into the device caused the canon to fracture, resulting in shrapnel being spread in the area.”
According to Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, the cannon was an antique which had been purchased at auction by the homeowner, “similar to those used at Civil War reenactments.”
“(It was) similar to a signal cannon,” elaborated MSP Lieutenant Liz Rich. “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 case material can wear away.”
Silva was one of four or five guests present when the blast sent metal shards flying as far as 25 feet away. The 26-year-old was reportedly standing within 10-15 feet of the explosion when shrapnel struck him in the chest.
First responders rushed Silva to Hurley Medical center in Flint, Michigan, where he passed away.
“We lost Evan Silva to a sudden fatal accident,” wrote Brent Romanik, the fundraiser’s organizer. “He left behind many family members and friends who greatly miss him and are grieving.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, it’s still unclear whether or not the shower was meant to be a gender reveal event. However, the incident recalls recent incidents of death and destruction stemming from gender reveals.
In 2019, 56-year-old Pamela Kreimeyer of Knoxville, Iowa died in a blast as family members experimented with explosives in preparation for an upcoming gender reveal event.
More recently in September of 2020, a gender reveal event in California that used a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” caused the El Dorado fire that burned nearly 10,000 acres, forcing the evacuation of over 20,000 people.
Lieutenant Rich acknowledged the similarities between Saturday’s incident and other recent gender reveal disasters, urging celebrating parents to practice caution.
“People are very creative in the gender reveals, but remember safety is always number one,” she said.
Silva’s family has since created a GoFundMe account to aid with funeral expenses.