Big blast for gender reveal in Kingston rocks homes miles away

A police investigation followed an explosion at a gender reveal event in a quarry at Torromeo Industries in Kingston the night of April 20.

It’s a boy!

An explosion that rattled homes within a 20-mile radius Tuesday night is being blamed on a gender reveal celebration at a Kingston quarry that police say involved more than a pound of Tannerite and blue chalk.

Many residents in communities across southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts reported hearing the explosion just after 7 p.m.

No injuries were reported in the quarry at Torromeo Industries on Dorre Road. Kingston Police Chief Donald Briggs Jr. said police are looking for those involved.

“Obviously, depending on the amount (of explosives) they were using, it could be extremely dangerous,” Briggs said Wednesday.

Gender reveal party accidents — some deadly — have made headlines as they’ve grown in popularity among expectant parents over the past decade.

Last year, a device from a gender reveal celebration sparked a massive wildfire in California that resulted in a firefighter’s death. In February, a New York man died after the device he was creating to reveal the gender of his baby exploded. His brother also was hurt.

His death came two weeks after a man attending a gender reveal party in Michigan was killed when he was hit by shrapnel from a cannon.

Two pilots died in March when their plane crashed into the Caribbean Sea during a stunt they were performing for a gender reveal.

In Kingston, police found a container filled with chalk and Tannerite at the quarry. Blue powder covered the ground.

Tannerite is a combination explosive used to make homemade targets. It is sold as two separate components that must be mixed by the user.


Tuesday’s explosion shook the nerves of many residents.

Amy Owen was standing at her back door watching her 9-year-old daughter and her friends when she heard a loud explosion.

“We live in a four-family townhouse in Plaistow, and it shook our house so bad that we thought someone drove into our building. The kids all scrambled, saying ‘earthquake,’ before asking me what it was,” she said.

Owen made sure the kids were OK and then ran to the front door, where she found her fiancé, Eric, checking to see whether someone hit the building.

Owen’s mother, Karen Axford, lives a street over from her daughter. The boom knocked some knick-knacks off her shelves.

Some 20 miles north in Epping, Heidi Jordan was getting ready to put some food on the grill when she heard the loud boom and a “deep rumble.”

“I thought for a second that maybe a large dump truck had gone off the road and struck a tree. I went outside but didn’t see anything. I also considered that it may have been another minor earthquake. It definitely had a rumble to it,” she said.

Kristen Lockard, who lives in East Hampstead, was having dinner with friends in East Kingston.

“Sounded like one big boom and the house shook and the windows rattled. It lasted only three seconds. My friend, who is ex-military, ran outside to check it out and didn’t find anything,” she said.

An employee at Torromeo Industries’ crushing plant and quarry in Kingston said she wasn’t aware of the explosion and referred all questions to the company’s headquarters in Methuen, Mass.

No one at that office could be reached for comment.