Couple Charged With Manslaughter Over Gender Reveal That Sparked Wildfire
By Bill Galluccio
July 21, 2021
The California couple whose gender reveal party started the El Dorado wildfire last year is facing more than 30 charges, including involuntary manslaughter.
The couple decided to reveal the gender of their baby during a party at El Dorado Ranch Park. They set off a "smoke-generating pyrotechnic device" that lit the tall, dry grass in the area on fire. The flames quickly spread due to the high winds and ballooned into a massive wildfire.
The El Dorado fire burned over 22,000 acres and destroyed five homes and 15 other buildings. The fire forced hundreds of people to be evacuated from their homes as firefighters tried to get it under control.
Firefighter Charles Morton was killed while battling the blaze. Two other firefighters and 13 civilians were injured as well.
"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 during a press conference.
The couple was also charged with 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 fire to the property of another.
The couple pleaded not guilty and was released on their own recognizance. If convicted, they could face several years behind bars.