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Friday, October 30, 2020

California firefighter dies in blaze reportedly sparked by gender-reveal party

A firefighter in California died in the El Dorado wildfire, which is believed to have begun as the result of a gender-reveal party.

The U.S. Forest Service announced the death on Friday using its San Bernardino National Forest Twitter account. The name of the firefighter, who died on Thursday, has not yet been released, nor has the exact cause of death.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time,” the Forest Service said. “The cause is under investigation. More details will be made available as they are confirmed.”

The El Dorado fire has been burning for nearly two weeks and has consumed more than 21,000 acres, according to the Los Angeles Times. The fire, which is 66% contained, is thought to have been sparked by a gender-reveal party.

Authorities said the blaze first began when a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” used to reveal a baby’s gender ignited four-foot-tall grass at El Dorado Ranch Park, the New York Times reported. Capt. Bennet Milloy of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said that attendees had attempted to quash the flames with water bottles, but those efforts proved fruitless, and the parents called 911 to report the incident.

Milloy said that criminal charges for the death may be considered, although no charges would be filed until the fire is extinguished.

“I can’t speak on their behalf,” Milloy said about the family a couple days after the blaze began, “but personally, I can only imagine how terrible they have to feel for a lot of reasons.”

The inferno is one of 38 active fires plaguing California, which already broke the record for most acres burned. Fires have also consumed parts of the Pacific Northwest, causing thousands to evacuate away from the deadly blazes.



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