Couple Faces Manslaughter Charges Almost One Year After Gender Reveal Party Caused Deadly Wildfires

(Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Logan Washburn Contributor
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A couple is facing charges of manslaughter almost one year after their gender reveal party allegedly caused deadly wildfires in California. 

Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly sparking California’s El Dorado Fire in September 2020, according to the New York Post. The couple pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of involuntary manslaughter, along with the 29 related charges brought against them. 

The couple was hosting a gender reveal party in the El Dorado Ranch Park, according to officials, when they allegedly ignited a smoke bomb which sparked the fire. Authorities said that the couple called 911, and that they frantically used bottled water in an attempt to douse the flames, KTLA reported. (RELATED: A Pyrotechnic Device Used During Gender Reveal Party Caused Massive California Wildfires, Officials Say)

The El Dorado Fire quickly spread, according to KTLA, and it eventually took the life of an experienced firefighter in the process. Charles Morton. 39, was the leader of the specially-trained Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Squad.

By the time the fire had been extinguished, according to CBS News, it had burned 22,680 acres of the San Gorgonio Wilderness in the San Bernardino National Forest. The blaze destroyed 20 buildings and injured 13 people.