An explosion rocked Kingston, NH and its surroundings just after 7 p.m. on April 20, 2021. The source was 80 pounds of explosive nestled in a nearby rock quarry. An expectant couple detonated the explosive as part of a gender reveal party. In 911 calls obtained by Motherboard via a public records request from the Kingston Police Department, startled citizens explained to the police that their homes had just been rattled by the massive explosion.
“Numerous calls of large explosion,” the 911 log said. “Turned out to be a gender reveal party involving tannerite. Numerous people complaining of damage to their house and public alarm.”
“I just heard a very loud explosion,” one caller said. “All my pictures have fallen.” Multiple people reported that the blast damaged the foundations of their home. “Take a picture of that,” one caller said to someone else in the room. “That was definitely from the blast. Oh my god, my heart is racing.”
“It was a humongous explosion,” another caller said. “It rattled my house.”
“Caller, you’re actually the fourth person that’s called,” one 911 dispatcher told a distressed resident. “I do have all the information I need. We have officers heading out that way.”
“Everyone on the street just went outside because something just went boom,” an older caller said. “And everybody’s house shook, but we don’t’ see anything wrong.”
“This isn’t an emergency per se. There’s been a loud explosion,” another caller said. “Don’t get me wrong. We know there’s a lot of shooting going on and we hear the shooting off in the distance and it’s kind of loud … and here it is, a weekday. So I assume it’s the police department … these noises are getting to be a pain in the neck.”
The couple used Tannerite for their gender-reveal needs. When police arrived on the scene they found Anthony Spinelli and his partner, who admitted to the use of explosives. Police charged Spinelli with disorderly conduct for the blast.
Tannerite is an explosive that reacts when shot. It’s mostly used for target practice because it’s fun for things to explode when you shoot them. Lately, though, gender reveals have become popular, and Tannerite has started marketing a gender reveal kit that tosses colored powder into the air upon detonation. The official kit only uses one pound of Tannerite; Spinelli used 80. Tannerite did not immediately return Motherboard’s request for comment.
Gender reveal parties have been in the news lately because they keep doing massive damage. In 2017, revelers started a fire in Arizona that burned 47,000 acres of land, took 800 firefighters to contain, and did $8.2 million in damage. Cars have caught firemultiple times during gender reveal parties, and several people have died during them this year alone.
Tim Marchman contributed to the reporting of this article.