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California couple accused of sparking El Dorado wildfire at baby party charged with manslaughter

The couple if convicted faces several years behind bars.

Updated: July 21, 2021 - 4:49pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A Southern California couple are facing manslaughter charges in connection with a smoke bomb igniting at their gender-reveal party, sparking a major wildfire that killed one firefighter and injured two others.

The El Dorado Fire made headlines in September 2020 when it erupted in Yucaipa, Calif., and burned over 22,000 acres across Riverside and San Bernardino counties. 

The couple, Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez, who were hosting gender-reveal party for an expected baby, were indicted Tuesday by a grand jury on one count each for manslaughter.

They are also facing three felony counts of recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury, four felony counts for recklessly causing a fire to inhabited structures and 22 misdemeanor counts, according to the New York Times.

The 39-year-old firefighter Charles Morton was killed in the blaze. 

The Jimenezes pleaded not guilty and were released without having to post bail. 

San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson said the couple if convicted faces several year behind bars.