Man Behind Deadly Wildfire in El Dorado Pleads Guilty

Man Behind Deadly Wildfire in El Dorado Pleads Guilty

( – On February 9, prosecutors announced that Refugio Jimenez Jr. admitted guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He accidentally started a wildfire in Southern California in 2020, killing a fireman, after he participated in a “gender-reveal” picture session.

On September 5, a pyrotechnic object went off in a field and quickly ignited the parched grass on that day. According to officials, Jimenez Jr. and Angelina Jimenez desperately attempted to put out the fire with bottled water while simultaneously dialing 911.

Gusty winds fueled the spread of flames that engulfed the national forest territory, located some 75 miles from Los Angeles. On September 17, flames engulfed a remote location where firefighters were making fire breaks, killing Charles Morton, 39, head of the specialized Big Bear Regional Hotshot Squad. For the most part, Morton’s 18 years of firefighting experience were with the US Forest Service.

The county of San Bernardino’s district attorney announced two counts of negligently setting fire to an occupied building and one count of accidental death on February 9. Jimenez Jr. claimed guilty to all charges. On February 23, authorities will arrest him and sentence him to one year in prison. He also must do community service of 200 hours and a felony probation of two years.

Angelina Jimenez accepted three charges of carelessly setting fire to another person’s property as part of her plea. She was ordered to serve community service for 400 hours and probation for one year. As compensation, the court also fined the pair $1,789,972.

The US Forest Service launched a lawsuit in September, naming the pair, along with the vendors, wholesalers, and manufacturer of the faulty pyrotechnic device. The smoke canisters in question were allegedly known to be faulty and unlawful in California, according to the complaint.

According to Jimenez Jr.’s attorney, Mike Scafiddi, the couple has been praying for Morton’s family nightly since he died. They have been deeply moved. The attorney said that before detonating the device that day, his client had conducted a thorough study and testing on it. Neither the internet nor his tests revealed any issues.

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