Kingston, NH

Explosion in Kingston New Hampshire Quarry Latest Gender-Reveal Stunt Gone Wrong

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

A gender reveal stunt went wrong when someone tried to use an explosive device with colored powder in a quarry in New Hampshire, creating an explosion felt in several towns.

Once, parents who wanted to share the gender of their baby before the child’s birth would simply tell others. These days, though, parents aren’t just providing an answer, they’re revealing it in unique ways. There are many ways that parents now use to reveal the gender of their baby. Cakes or cupcakes with blue or pink colored filling, a piñata with colored confetti, scratch off cards, or colored silly string among many other methods have been used by parents to reveal whether their child is a girl or boy.

As time has gone by and gender reveal parties have become more popular, parents often search for new, unique and bigger ways to reveal whether their child is a boy or girl. Color changing light sabers, colored smoke bombs, fireworks and smoke that issues from the exhaust of a car are some of the more involved tricks that have been used.

Gender reveal methods have continued to get larger and more extensive, involving pyrotechnics. Baseballs that explode when you hit them and footballs that explode when you kick them are some of the first exploding gender reveal stunts that were developed.

The creation of pyrotechnic gender reveal methods didn’t stop here however. Explosive gender reveals have gotten even bigger than these sports ball versions. But even so, it was hard to imagine that this kind of baby related event could shake several towns in New Hampshire but that is exactly what happened. Last week, residents of several New Hampshire towns were startled by a blast that rattled window and could be heard for miles.

The cause was 80 pounds of an explosive called Tannerite used for a baby reveal surprise at a quarry in Kingston. Tannerite is an over-the-counter substance that is used for firearms practice and is highly explosive.

Kingston residents said it was like nothing they’d ever heard before.

“It was earth-shaking,” said one person who lives in the town.

Others called the loud explosion a “god awful blast,” and said it knocked the pictures off of the walls. It shook homes in surrounding towns, cracked the foundations of houses and was actually captured on a security camera on a house a town away. Social media went crazy with people from several nearby towns wanting to know what had happened.

The man who bought and set off the explosives turned himself in, and police said they are in the process of deciding whether he'll face charges. In addition to the Tannerite, police also found blue powder at the site of the blast, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader. This would have been used to indicate that the baby was a boy.

It is clear that the man didn’t know much about using Tannerite as the company makes a gender reveal kit that includes one pound of the explosive with blue or pink powder.

Here is the Tannerite video about their Gender Reveal Boom Box, in which you can see how big an explosion is produced by 1 pound of the substance.

Imagine that explosion multiplied by 80 and you'll have some idea of just how big the homemade version was.

No injuries were reported in the recent explosion, but police have issued warnings about the dangers of potentially misusing Tannerite, such as starting wildfires, damaging property or possibly hurting or even killing someone.

"If used improperly or irresponsibly, the consequences could be very serious," Sgt. Jeffrey Dade of the New Hampshire State Police Bomb Squad said.

The New Hampshire explosion is just the latest gender-reveal problem to make headlines. Others have had serious, even fatal, outcomes, turning celebrations into tragedies.

Last September, a firefighter died while trying to extinguish a major wildfire in Southern California's San Bernardino National Forest which was caused by a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used during a gender-reveal photo shoot. More than 20,000 people had to be evacuated. In 2017, an Arizona gender-reveal party explosion started a wildfire that burned about 47,000 acres. This past February, a father died in an accidental explosion while building a pyrotechnic device for his child’s gender reveal party.

Watch coverage of the explosion below.

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