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Couple convicted for part in starting the El Dorado Fire

The couple whose gender-reveal party pyrotechnics went awry and started what came to be known as the El Dorado fire in San Bernardino County in 2020 was sentenced Friday after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney ‘s Office announced last week they had reached a resolution with defendants Refugio Manuel Jimenez, Jr. and Angelina Renee Jimenez for inadvertently starting the 22,000-acre fire in a Yucaipa park with a device that was supposed to emit blue or pink smoke.

Refugio Jimenez Jr. plead guilty to Count 1 as a Felony, violation of P.C. 192(b) – Involuntary Manslaughter for the death of Firefighter Charlie Morton; Count 6 as a Felony, violation of P.C. 452(b) – Recklessly Causing a Fire to an Inhabited Structure; Count 7 as a Felony, violation of P.C. 452(b) – Recklessly Causing a Fire to an Inhabited Structure.

Angelina Jimenez plead guilty to three misdemeanors counts for violations of P.C. 452(d) – Recklessly Causing Fire to Property of Another.

Refugio Jimenez Jr. was sentenced to two years felony probation, 365 days in County Jail and 200 hours of community service. Angelina Jimenez was sentenced to one year summary probation, and 400 hours of community service. Mr. Jimenez will be remanded into custody on February 23, 2024.

The Jimenez’s are additionally ordered to pay victims’ restitution in the amount of $1,789,972.

“Resolving the case was never going to be a win.” said District Attorney Jason Anderson. “The Defendants’ reckless conduct had tremendous impact on land, properties, emergency response resources, the displacement of entire communities, and resulted in the tragic death of Forest Service Wildland Firefighter Charles Morton. All these factors were given an extraordinary amount of consideration throughout every step of investigation, the Grand Jury process, and court proceedings.”

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