A happy occasion turned horrific on Saturday when an Iowa woman was killed at a gender reveal party.
Local fire and police responded to a report of an explosion in Knoxville, Iowa, about 40 miles southeast of Des Moines. Upon arrival, they found 56-year-old Pamela Kreimeyer dead.
Authorities say Kreimeyer was killed by a homemade explosive device. She was standing 45 feet away from the device when she was hit by flying debris.
It turned out the family had been experimenting with explosive materials in the days leading up to the party in an attempt to create a mechanism that would shoot colored powder into the air to reveal the baby’s gender. Police say they inadvertently created a pipe bomb.
[The family] placed gunpowder in the bottom of a homemade stand that was welded to a metal plate,” the Marion County Sheriff’s office said in a press release. “A hole had been drilled in the side for a fuse, a piece of wood was placed on top of the gunpowder and colored powder was placed on top of the board. Tape was then wrapped over the top of the metal tubing.”
The intent was for the powder to shoot out of the top of the device. Instead, the entire contraption exploded and a piece of metal struck Kreimeyer in the head, killing her instantly.
“This is a reminder that anytime someone mixes these things there is a high potential for serious injury or death,” Sheriff Jason Sandholdt said in its statement. “Please do not take these unnecessary risks.”
This isn’t the first time things have gone terribly wrong at a gender reveal party. In 2017, an off-duty border patrol agent shot at a target full of blue explosive powder, setting off a fire that destroyed 47,000 acres of Arizona forest.
Earlier this year, an Australian man attempted to shoot blue smoke out of his car tires and instead started a fire that forced him and a passenger to flee the vehicle.