Couple charged with manslaughter after gender reveal sparked deadly wildfire

gender reveal party wildfire California manslaughter

A couple has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after gender reveal party ended in disaster, killing a firefighter in a deadly wildfire.

On 5 September, 2020, a huge wildfire broke out at the El Dorado Ranch Park in southern California after a smoke bomb set the grass ablaze at a gender reveal party.

A firefighter named Charlie Morton was killed while fighting the inferno, which burned through more than 22,000 of acres of land over 23 days.

The wildfire injured 13 other people, destroyed five homes and 15 other buildings, and forced hundreds of people to evacuate.

According to Desert Sun, Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr and Angela Renee Jimenez, who hosted the party, have now been charged with 30 crimes relating to the fire, including one felony count of involuntary manslaughter.

They have also been 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 misdemeanour counts of recklessly causing fire to property.

San Bernardino County district attorney Jason Anderson told a news conference on Monday (19 July) that the couple had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

If found guilty on all counts, the number of years they could spend in prison would be between the “lower teens to low 20s”, he added.

Despite prosecutors’ requests that the couple be held on a $50,000 bail, they have been released on their own recognisance. They will return to court on 15 September, 2021.

The creator of gender reveal parties wishes she had never come up with the tradition

In recent years, there have been multiple reports of gender reveal parties causing sometimes-deadly disasters, from Earthquakesplane crashes, explosions, arrests and even a pipe bomb explosion.

Blogger Jenna Karvaunidis documented the first known gender reveal party for her firstborn in 2008, and the idea soon took off.

But since her child revealed that they are gender nonconforming, the mother has come out to say that the practice hammers home essentialist, outdated ideas about gender that places “more emphasis on gender than has ever been necessary for a baby”.