It happened again. A gender-reveal party went wrong, sparking a massive wildfire. It’s the latest in a string of disasters linked to these popular parties–some of them fatal. Is it time to make them illegal?
The most recent fire–The El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County–was caused by a pyrotechnic device designed to spew colored smoke. Instead, it sparked a wildfire that claimed over 10,000 acres.
In 2017, the Sawmill Fire was the direct result of a gender reveal gone wrong. An off-duty border patrol agent ignited a target packed with the explosive Tannerite, creating a massive cloud of blue smoke and sparks.
The dry brush nearby caught fire, and eventually, the stunt burned more than 45,000 acres over the course of a week.
The man who started the fire ended up getting 5 years of probation and over $8 million in restitution to the state of Arizona. It’s not clear yet if charges will be pressed in the California wildfire case.
The most infamous gender reveal party might be the one that happened last year in Iowa. The family built a device that was supposed to create a cloud of blue or pink smoke. But they went too far with the homemade incendiary and accidentally make a pipe bomb.
When the parents-to-be ignited the metal tube packed with explosives, it erupted into a maelstrom of fire and shrapnel. A piece of metal struck Pamela Kreimeyer, who was there to celebrate the arrival of her next grandchild, in the head and killed her instantly.
“Our investigation showed that members of the Kreimeyer family were experimenting with different types of explosive material on Friday and Saturday in an attempt to record a gender reveal that could be posted on social media for friends and family,” read a statement from the sheriff’s office.
Jenna Karvunidis is generally credited as being the first person to popularize the idea of a big gender reveal party in 2008. But now she wishes it had never caught on. Although her own party, shared on her lifestyle blog, involved cutting a cake to reveal a pink interior, things have gotten much more elaborate–and explosive–since then.
Karvunidis recently posted a plea to stop the dangerous trend on Facebook:
Stop having these stupid parties. For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid’s penis. No one cares but you.
If people won’t voluntarily stop building explosive devices, then perhaps law enforcement needs to crack down. These parties are clearly out of control.