Couple Faces Charge of Involuntary Manslaughter After Their Gender Reveal Sparked a Deadly Wildfire

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There are so many thoughts that go through your head when you get pregnant—what will the baby look like? Will they have Mom or Dad’s personality? And most of all: Is it a boy or a girl?

These days, finding out the gender of your unborn baby is a huge ordeal. Gone are the days when you simply look at an ultrasound screen and determine if you’re going to have a son or daughter. Instead, gender reveal parties have ramped up in popularity—a time when family and friends gather round to find out what the sex of your baby is.

Gender reveal parties usually reveal the gender with an event: Cutting a slice of cake and revealing a pink or blue slice, opening a box of balloons, or even shooting cannons into the air to determine the color, for example.

But lately, there have been some examples where gender reveal parties have not gone as planned. And recently, a gender reveal party got out of hand when a smoke bomb was used and caused a catastrophic wildfire.

The expecting couple, Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez, who live in Southern California, set off a smoke bomb at their party to hopefully show a pink or blue smoke for their family and friends, but got something much worse instead.

The wildfire from the smoke bomb started in El Dorado Park near Yucaipa, California, and expanded drastically, lasting a total of 23 days and burned more than 22,000 acres. Hundreds of people had to leave their homes, with five in total being destroyed. Additionally, the fire led to two firefighters being injured and killing one—all to present the gender of their baby.

During a recent press conference, the couple pleaded not guilty to one felony count of involuntary manslaughter, 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 misdemeanors of recklessly causing fire to property.

The couple is looking at up to 20 years in prison if they’re found guilty.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson said the fire has had a “tremendous impact on the community,” and it was a “complex case.”

What do you think of gender reveal parties? Would you ever or have you ever had one before? Have you ever been to a party where something has gone wrong like this?