Explosion in a garage, Killing Man in Upstate New York
The explosion killed Christopher Pekny in a garage and wounded his brother on Sunday, officials said. What happened was identified by another brother as' the freakiest of freak accidents.'
The authorities said that a man who was expecting his first child was killed on Sunday and his brother was wounded when a device they were preparing for a gender-revealing party blew up in a garage in New York's Catskills.
According to the New York State Police, troopers responded to an explosion call at a home in Liberty, N.Y., shortly before noon. Christopher Pekny, 28, died and Michael Pekny, 27, his brother, was injured, officials said.
A State Police spokesman, Trooper Steven Nevel, said what set off the blast was still under investigation. The system consisted of some sort of pipe intended for use at a gender-revealing party, but it was not yet understood the existence of its explosive content, he said.
In a telephone interview on Monday, Peter Pekny Jr., 34, the eldest of the brothers, referred to what had occurred as "the freakiest of freak accidents I could ever imagine," although he did not know what had set off the blast.
He said that Michael, his brother, was stable at a hospital in Middletown, N.Y., and that doctors were able to reconstruct the injured knee.
Since 2019, explosive devices used in gender-reveal activities have been associated with at least two deaths and two large wildfires. The parties on Facebook and Instagram are a common way for couples to announce news about their pregnancies.
This month, a 26-year-old man died in Michigan after being struck with shrapnel from "a small cannon type device" that exploded when it was shot at a baby shower in celebration, the authorities said.
"Peter Pekny said that "very technically inclined" were his brothers and that "they could repair and do something.
He described Christopher as a talented mechanic who enjoyed repairing engines and taking cars apart and putting them back together. In Ferndale, a hamlet in the town of Liberty, which is about 110 miles northwest of New York City, Christopher and Michael set up a rental house, their brother said.
Mr. Pekny said that during his job at Liberty Concrete, where he worked as a mason, Christopher received the nickname Frankenstein.
Three people would have taken what he picked up and driven about," he said." "I saw him pick up blocks of engines because they were in the way."
Christopher Pekny was 6 feet 5 inches high and weighed 250 pounds, he said. He once ran so hard into another player when he played high school football that he cracked the player's helmet in half, he remembered.
He had the most complicated head I've ever seen," he said."
Peter Pekny said that just before Christmas, Christopher Pekny discovered that his girlfriend was pregnant and that they had a child.
Mr. Pekny said he received a call on Sunday, the day of the party, from family members when he was about 45 miles away in Florida, N.Y. At first, he figured the call was a ruse to get him to the party early, but he ran to Liberty on Route 17 when he heard the news, at times faster than 100 miles per hour.
He claimed he was hit by a state trooper, who pulled him over and began shouting at him. Mr. Pekny said he clarified why he was speeding, and he returned to Mr. Pekny's pickup truck after the trooper went to his patrol car and listened on the radio to verify his claim.
He said he was told by a trooper, "You've got to go," and didn't ticket him. Mr. Pekny said of the trooper, "The color completely ran out of his face." "He looked as though he'd seen two ghosts."
Michael and Christopher were inseparable as boys and remained into adulthood that way. "If you could think of any two individuals who were the two closest, amplify that tenfold," said Mr. Pekny.
Mr. Pekny said when he grew up that he was harsh on his younger brothers and did not share their bond. That had recently begun to shift, he said, and they were growing closer.
"He really wanted to start a family," he said of Christopher. "He was beginning to really settle down and grow up."
The Robin Hood Diner, a keystone in Livingston Manor, an area of the Catskills known for its trout fishing, is owned by the Pekny family.
Christopher, who turned 29 on Tuesday, was waiting for tables and kept a bar there. Mr. Pekny said he wished his dad a good night on Saturday, adding that he would see him in the morning.
"A Facebook post on the diner's page said: "We appreciate the overwhelming display that you all have shown of love and support. For the near future, Robin Hood will be locked.