October 28, 2019

KNOXVILLE, Iowa -- This is NOT a press release directly from the Iowa Department of Public Safety's State Fire Marshal's (SFM) Office. This is a press release from the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the SFM assisted with the investigation.

Marion County Sheriff's Office Press Release Header with Logo

On Saturday 10/26/19 at 4:03p.m. the Marion County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of an explosion that had occurred at 2079 180th Ave. in rural Knoxville, IA. It was reported that a female had been seriously injured in the explosion. Local fire departments, emergency medical services, and law enforcement responded to the scene where a 56-year-old female was pronounced deceased on scene. The investigation determined that a gender reveal announcement resulted in the explosion which caused a flying piece of debris to strike the victim. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the investigation by the Iowa State Fire Marshal’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.

10/28/19 Update including name and age of victim

Victim’s name-Pamela Kreimeyer- age 56

Our investigation showed that members of the Kreimeyer family were experimenting with different types of explosive material on Friday and Saturday in an attempt to record a gender reveal that could be posted on social media for friends and family. On Saturday afternoon five family members and the expectant mother gathered and placed gunpowder in 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. Tape was then wrapped over the top of the metal tubing, inadvertently creating a pipe bomb. Instead of the gunpowder shooting the powder out the top of the stand, the stand exploded sending metal pieces flying. One of these metal pieces struck Pamela Kreimeyer in the head causing instant death. She was standing with other family members approximately 45 feet from the device. It’s believed that the projectile that struck the victim then continued another 144 yards through the air coming to rest in a field.

This incident remains under investigation.

Sheriff Jason Sandholdt’s statement about the incident:

“This family got together for what they thought was going to be a happy event with no intent for anyone to get hurt. What ended up happening was that Pamela Kreimeyer, a wife, mother and grandmother was killed by a piece of metal where a metal stand, gunpowder and colored powder were involved. 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 Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the largest law enforcement agency in the state. It includes six divisions and several bureaus, all working together with local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to keep Iowa a safe place by following our core values: leadership, integrity, professionalism, courtesy, service and protection. Divisions within the Iowa DPS: Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, and Administrative Services Division. The Department of Public Safety is led by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Governor.

Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 E 7th St
Des Moines IA 50319