Jul 20, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Couple charged for gender reveal party that sparked fatal California fire

A firefighter helps to set bck fires as the El dorado Fire approaches in Tucaipa, California, in September.

A firefighter helps to set back flames as the El Dorado Fire approaches in Tucaipa, California, in September 2020. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A couple whose gender reveal party in Southern California triggered a wildfire that killed a firefighter last September has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: A smoke-generating pyrotechnic device from the party sparked the El Dorado Fire in which 39-year-old firefighter Charles Morton died. Another 13 people were wounded. The blaze razed 22,680 acres and forced the evacuations of hundreds of people in the area.

  • Anderson said at a news conference that the couple, whom he identified as the Jiminez family, had pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges related to the fire, but the indictment was unsealed Tuesday.
  • These included the felony offenses of recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury and recklessly causing a fire to inhabited structures, along with misdemeanor counts of recklessly causing fire to property.
Go deeper