There's no social media moment worth putting someone at risk

By Diane J. Cho
Updated September 22, 2020 02:01 PM
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JOSH EDELSON//Getty Images

Revealing the sex of your child is typically a joyous occasion for you and your partner. But as “gender reveal” parties grow in popularity (something the inventor of the concept now says she regrets), the desire to make them bigger, more over-the-top and more memorable than ever before has led to some shocking (and truly tragic) outcomes. Below are six stories that made headlines for their unhappy endings — and are a reminder that no social media moment is worth putting yourself or others at risk.

At Least 25 Fatalities Across More Than Two Dozen Fires

El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino National Park
Kyle Grillot for The Washington Post via Getty

The El Dorado Fire, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, spreading rapidly in Northern California was started during a gender reveal party, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (Cal Fire) said in a press release on Sept. 6, 2020.

The devastating fire, that has caused at least 25 fatalities, including 39-year-old firefighter Charlie Morton, was started on Sept. 5, 2020 at 10:23 a.m. "by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device" that was used during the party, the press release said.

Since the party, the fire has spread north from the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa on to Yucapia Ridge. Only five percent of the fire has been contained, as of early September.

Cal Fire officials reminded residents that "those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially or criminally responsible."

According to the Cal Fire incident website, the flames have burned at least 7,050 acres. Evacuation orders are in place for the communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa Ridge, Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls.

Over 500 personnel have been deployed to the fire, including four helicopters, 10 water tenders, and 60 engines, the website said.

Iowa Woman Dies After Being Struck by Debris

Pamela Kreimeyer, 56, was killed on Oct. 26, 2019, after being hit in the head by a piece of metal that was part of a gender reveal announcement. Members of the Kreimeyer family had been testing different types of explosive material and had inadvertently created a pipe bomb, which resulted in authorities finding Kreimeyer, a wife, mother and grandmother, dead at the scene.

Explosion Shakes Homes More Than 2 Miles Away

Just one day after Kreimeyer’s death was announced, there was another explosion reported in Iowa, according to KCCI-8. Fortunately, no one was harmed as a result of the blast, but the Waukee Fire Department announced that the explosion was felt by residents who lived as far as two miles away.

Arizona Border Patrol Agent Accidentally Starts Wildfire

The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service released a video of the exact moment patrol agent Dennis Dickey shot a “high-velocity firearm” at a target that was supposed to only release a blue or pink powder. However, the hit caused an explosion that sparked the 2017 Sawmill Fire (as it came to be known), which damaged more than 45,000 acres and cost more than $8 million in damages.

A Family Gets Up Close and Personal with An Alligator’s Jaws

This video, shared by Melody Kliebert, depicts a dad-to-be getting right up in an alligator’s face, tapping its nose and trying wrestle it into position for its big “reveal” moment: biting into a watermelon filled with blue Jell-O. While no one is hurt in the video, we probably don’t need to remind you that alligators are deadly predators and should not be considered a playful addition to a family event.

Air Cannon Injures Dad-to-Be’s Groin

This couple’s gender reveal video went viral for all the wrong reasons. The clip starts off with the expectant parents on a deck outside, happily preparing to launch their air cannons to announce the sex of their baby with blue or pink colors. Just as the soon-to-be dad’s air cannon shot out blue powder, signifying a baby boy, the back of the cannon shot right back at him in a not-so-sweet spot.