Couple Charged In Death Of Firefighter After Gender Reveal Allegedly Sparks Fire

by Erica Gerald Mason
Originally Published: 
Mario Tama/Getty

A couple has been charged for their role in starting the El Dorado wildfire in 2020

Enough with gender reveal parties. The parties have caused general mayhem, fires, injuries, and in some incredibly tragic cases, deaths. This week, a California couple who allegedly started an enormous wildfire in 2020 with their gender reveal smoke bomb has been charged with 30 crimes, CNN reports. The couple has been accused of involuntary manslaughter as their celebration allegedly sparked the El Dorado fire that took the life of a firefighter.

The gender reveal smoke bomb was set off by the couple in Yucaipa, California on September 5 — and things went terribly wrong. The couple was hoping to announce the sex of their baby, but instead allegedly sparked a fire that went on to burn more than 22,000 acres across two counties.

As a result of the fire, one firefighter was killed and two others injured. It was later determined that gender reveal pyrotechnic devices were the cause of the fire. 434 items of evidence had been presented to the grand jury to determine if the couple should be charged, CNN reports.

In their arraignments Tuesday, both defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. They were released on their own recognizance until September, when they are due to return to court.

“You’re obviously dealing with lost lives, you’re dealing with injured lives, and you’re dealing with people’s residences that were burned and their land that was burned. That encompasses a lot of, not only emotion, but damage, both financially and psychologically,” San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson said at a news conference.

The fire “had a tremendous impact on the community of San Bernardino,” Anderson said, with at least six agencies “involved in containing, extinguishing and investigating” the deadly blaze.

Firefighter Charles Morton, a Big Bear Interagency Hotshot squad boss, lost his life battling the El Dorado Fire. Morton “died while engaged in fire suppression operations,” read a news release from the US Forest Service following his passing. A hotshot is a firefighter on the frontlines who walks directly into a fire on steep terrain in order to determine the best course of action to take.

“Given the scope and the impact of the El Dorado Fire on the land and lives of so many, particularly Charles Morton and his family, it was imperative that every investigation be completed within both federal and state agencies to provide a full, fair presentation to the members of our community,” Anderson explained.

Say it with us: No. More. Gender. Reveal. Parties.

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