California Couple Whose Gender Reveal Party Sparked Wildfire Charged in Firefighter's Death
The California wildfire that took over a month to put out in 2020. The couple who authorities say had a gender reveal party that sparked the blaze are being charged with involuntary manslaughter in addition to other charges.
The couple whose gender reveal party was determined to be the reason a massive fire in California was sparked last year have been charged in the death of a firefighters who was killed in the blaze, officials said.
Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez staged a gender reveal party in El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains in September 2020.
"CAL FIRE Law Enforcement has determined the El Dorado Fire, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, was caused by a smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party," Cal Fire said on Twitter.
Because it was a hot day and nearby grass was dry, the fire caught and spread quickly, officials said. The wind fanned the flames and the fire ran through wilderness on national forest land, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, authorities said.
When the fire was finally extinguished the next month, 22,680 acres in the Oak Glen/Yucaipa Ridge area and within the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area of the San Bernardino National Forest had been scorched, according to KCAL.
Officials had said those allegedly responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be charged and held financially and criminally responsible.
California Law Enforcement held to their word. The couple was charged in the death of Charlie Morton, a firefighter of 18 years and a Squad Boss for the Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Crew of the San Bernardino National Forest.
San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson announced at a news conference that Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez pleaded not guilty Monday to one felony count each of involuntary manslaughter, along with other felony and misdemeanor counts related to the El Dorado Fire, according to CBS News.
If they are found guilty of the charges they face, they could spend up to 20 years in prison, according to KCAL.
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