By Tony Aiello

LIBERTY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An effort to delight family and friends at a gender reveal event proved deadly for a Sullivan County man.

New York State Police say a device that was intended to shower colored powder blew up instead, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.

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It happened Feb. 21 in the Town of Liberty.

At the Livingston Manor Diner, owned by the victim’s family, candles and flowers symbolize the heartbreak his friends and family feel.

State police say father-to-be Chris Pekny, 28, was preparing for a gender reveal event at his home. While preparing a practice device intended to explode in a cloud of colored powder, the device exploded early, killing Pekny.

Flying shrapnel wounded his brother, Michael. CBS2 learned he suffered injuries to his head and torso and was taken to a hospital in Orange County for treatment.

State police say there was no malicious intent with the explosive device and it is being investigated as a tragic accident.

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Gender reveals sometimes flirt with danger.

Police in Australia released video of a car rigged to spew blue smoke for a baby boy. Unfortunately, the car also went up in flames.

In 2019, a grandmother-to-be was killed at a home in rural Iowa when a gender reveal explosive device blew up.

The U.S. Forest Service says another gender reveal pyrotechnic created a massive forest fire.

In Sullivan County, friends are remembering Pekny as a big-hearted, kind, fun loving person.

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His family released a statement saying they’re heartbroken by his loss, but grateful for the community’s outpouring of love and support.

Tony Aiello