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Explosion in Kingston, N.H., linked to gender reveal party, police say

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New Hampshire authorities on Friday were still investigating a mysterious explosion linked to a gender reveal party in Kingston that shook and rattled homes for miles.

The party was held in a quarry where officers discovered the source of the explosion was 80 pounds of Tannerite, an over-the-counter explosive target used for firearms practice and sold as a kit, police said in a statement.

When a detective met with the group holding the party, they cooperated and explained what they were doing, police said.

The group “. . . informed him that they were having a gender reveal party,” police said in a statement Thursday. “During the investigation, the detective was informed that the location, a quarry, was chosen as they felt it was a safe location to detonate the Tannerite.”

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The blast was reported to police about 7:10 p.m. Tuesday and officers were dispatched to 18 Dorre Rd. in Kingston, the site of a quarry operated by Torromeo Industries, Inc., which has its headquarters in Methuen, Mass.

Nobody was injured, police said.

It is not clear whether the group had permission to hold the event at the quarry. A woman who answered the phone at Torromeo’s Methuen headquarters Thursday said the company had no comment.

The man who purchased and detonated the explosives turned himself in and is cooperating with the investigation, police said. The man, whom police did not identify, could face criminal charges, police said.

Police are “continuing with the investigation and will make a determination on what charges will be forthcoming,” the statement said.

Police had no new information on the case Friday but said the investigation is ongoing.

The blast caused confusion and concern among residents in the area.

In Plaistow, just south of Kingston, Amy Owen said she was watching her 9-year-old daughter play with her friends in the backyard when she heard the blast.

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“It was a loud boom that shook our four-family townhouse,” Owen said. “The kids stumbled and yelled ‘Earthquake!’ and asked me what it was.”

The blast was one of a number of explosive gender reveal parties that have been in the news of late. Some have turned out deadly, leading others to wonder if the events themselves are cursed.

Jason Whitney, who lives nearby on Dorre Road, was sitting in his living room when suddenly he felt his house shake and heard an ear-splitting bang.

“It must have come up through the foundation,” Whitney said, adding that he hasn’t noticed any damage to his home. “I felt the shock from it against my house and windows.”

Whitney, like many others, took to Facebook to find out what happened. As news trickled out, he learned the origin of the blast, and the celebration surrounding it. That’s when his concern shifted from his own home to the people who were celebrating.

“I can’t imagine a pregnant woman standing near that blast or being anywhere near that . . . would be good for her or anyone else standing there,” he said. “It would probably be deafening to the people who were close to it. I hope no one is injured, and if a pregnant woman was there, I hope she is okay.”

The shock of the explosion spread beyond Kingston with people on social media reporting that they felt the effects in nearby Salem, N.H., and across Rockingham County.

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After hearing and feeling the blast, Owen’s fiancé, Eric Cloutier, ran to the front door, thinking someone had crashed a car into their house, but nothing was there.

Owen then got a call from her mother, who lives across the street.

“She reached out to me saying she had a ‘slight casualty,’ joking it off because she said that her house shook and her knickknack angels fell from shelves and broke their wings,” Owen said.



Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.