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22nd Jul 2021

Couple charged after gender reveal blaze kills firefighter

The couple could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

A couple has been charged with the death of a firefighter after their gender reveal party caused the El Dorado wildfire.

They both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

They have been charged with involuntary manslaughter after a pyrotechnic device caused the destructive wildfire.

One firefighter, Charlie Morton was killed in the blaze and two were injured.

23,000 acres of land were destroyed. The fire torched 15 homes and damaged another 15 buildings.

13 people also suffered injuries in the blaze.

The El Dorado fire started on September 5, 2020. It burned for 23 days.

Temperatures were 15-20 degrees above average on the day until November 16.

Court district attorney, Jason Anderson stated: “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.”

Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr and Angela Renee Jimenez face up to 30 charges, including involuntary manslaughter, causing fire to property, and causing a fire with great bodily injury.

Investigators ruled that the fire was started by a smoke bomb that was used at the gender reveal party.

Cal Fire stated: “Cal Fire reminds the public that with the dry conditions and critical fire weather, it doesn’t take much to start a wildfire. Those responsible for starting fires due to negligence or illegal activity can be held financially and criminally responsible.”

The couple is awaiting their court date. If found guilty on all charges, they could face up to 20 years in prison.