Couple That Caused El Dorado Fire Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter

As millions were under quarantine lockdown last year, many people were still finding ways to celebrate moments with their loved ones. Married couple Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez were with their young children back in September 2020 when they hosted a gender reveal party, and what was meant to be a happy occasion turned into a deadly fire.

The family was at the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, California when a reported pyrotechnic device that was meant to set off smoke lit fire to nearby grass. The Jimenezes attempted to put out the flames with bottled water but soon, it turned into what would be dubbed the El Dorado Fire.

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Thirteen people were reportedly injured while 39-year-old firefighter Charles Morton passed away while fighting off the flames. Morton had reportedly worked as a firefighter for 18 years. NPR reports that hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes as 20 buildings, including five houses, were destroyed.

The effects of the fire were still felt months later during a winter storm that passed through the area, causing mudslides and flows. Once again, many residents were evacuated for safety measures. Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez have officially been charged with involuntary manslaughter. They have been allowed to await their next court date, September 15, at home with their family.