Christopher Pekny died while putting together a device to be used at a child's "gender reveal" party, according to New York State Police
Christopher Pekny
| Credit: Facebook

A soon-to-be father was killed in New York this weekend when the machine he was constructing for an upcoming "gender reveal
party exploded, police said.

Christopher Pekny, 28, died Sunday when the device went off, according to a statement from Major James C. Michael of the New York State Police. The explosion also injured Pekny's 27-year-old brother, Michael, and both the state police and the bomb disposal unit are currently investigating the incident.

In an interview with the New York Times, Christopher's older brother, Peter, called the explosion a "freak accident."

"The freakiest of freak accidents that I could ever imagine," the 34-year-old told the newspaper.

Peter said both Christopher and Michael had experience fixing and building different things. Christopher was also a talented mechanic who enjoyed working on cars.

"If you could think of any two people who were the closest two people — amplify that tenfold," he said of his two brothers' bond.

Peter told the Times 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 Robin Hood Diner, a restaurant in the Catskills area of New York. The family posted a statement to the restaurant's Facebook page on Monday.

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"We are deeply saddened and must inform you all of the loss of our dear an beloved Christopher," they 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," they added. "More details will be posted when we have them available. Thank you."

There have been a number of accidents linked to so-called "gender reveal" parties in recent years, including one that sparked a deadly wildfire.

"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."