RURAL KNOXVILLE — Authorities released the name of a woman who died in an explosion that came as part of a gender reveal celebration Saturday, as well as more details about the incident.

Pamela Kreimeyer, 56, died at 2079 180th Ave. in rural Knoxville Saturday. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said she was struck in the head by a piece of metal debris. Authorities say she was killed instantly.

The makeshift explosive was made to reveal the gender of a child in the family. According to the sheriff’s office, the family hoped to record a video to post on social media with the announcement.

A press release from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said five family members and the expecting mother gathered Saturday afternoon. They placed gunpowder on the bottom of a homemade stand that was welded to a metal base plate.

A hole had been drilled in the side for a fuse, a piece of wood was placed on top of the gunpowder, and colored powder was placed on top of the board, the press release said.

Authorities say tape was wrapped over the top of the metal tubing, ultimately creating a pipe bomb. The family intended for the powder to be shot out of the top of the stand, but instead the stand exploded sending metal debris through the air.

The victim and other family members were standing approximately 45 feet from the device.

“This family got together for what they thought was going to be a happy event with no intent for anyone to get hurt,” Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt said in a written statement. “This is a reminder that anytime someone mixes these things there is a high potential for serious injury or death; please do not take these unnecessary risks. My condolences go out to the family.”

The explosion was reported to law enforcement at 4:03 p.m. on Saturday.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the investigation by the Iowa State Fire Marshall’s Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; the Indiana Township Fire Department; the Knoxville City Fire and Rescue; and the Marion County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The sheriff’s office says the incident remains under investigation.

Kyle Ocker is the regional editor of the Centerville Daily Iowegian, Knoxville Journal-Express, Pella Chronicle and Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at

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