SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KGTV) — A couple whose gender reveal party was blamed for sparking a wildfire last year that killed a San Diego firefighter has been charged with several felonies, including involuntary manslaughter.
During a press conference on Tuesday, the San Bernardino District Attorney and officials announced the results of a four-day criminal grand jury investigation on the El Dorado Fire on Sept. 5, 2020.
Following the findings, an indictment was filed against Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez, charging them with one count of involuntary manslaughter, three felony counts of recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury, four felony counts of recklessly causing a fire to inhabited structures, and 22 misdemeanor counts of recklessly causing a fire to property of another, San Bernardino County officials announced.
- CAL FIRE: El Dorado Fire sparked by pyrotechnic device used during gender reveal party
- Firefighter killed battling El Dorado Fire identified as San Diego native
- Firefighter dies while battling wildfire in Southern California sparked by gender reveal party
The El Dorado Fire began when a smoke-generating pyrotechnic sparked dry grass near Yucaipa, just east of Los Angeles, authorities say. More than 22,700 acres were charred in the fire, and four homes were damaged and five were destroyed. Another 15 other structures were destroyed.
The fire killed U.S. Forest Service firefighter and San Diego native Charles Morton and caused 13 other injuries.
The couple has pleaded not guilty to the charges and will be back in court on Sept. 15, 2021. The court has released them on their own recognizance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.