Couple Charged

Smoke Bomb gender reveal Sparked



By San Bernardino County

Office of the District Attorney Jason Anderson ___

San Bernardino, CA ___ July 19, 2021, the Criminal Grand Jury returned a True Bill against Refugio Manuel Jimenez, Jr. and Angelina Renee Jimenez for conduct that caused the El Dorado Fire in September 2020. 

Pursuant to the Grand Jury findings, an indictment has been filed against Mr. and Mrs. Jimenez for the  following charges: 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 twenty-two misdemeanor counts of recklessly causing a fire to property of another. 

Monday July 19th, the indictment was unsealed, the defendants were arraigned, entered pleas of not guilty and will return to court on July 15, 2021. Although the District Attorney’s Office requested $50,000 bail for each defendant, the Court released them on their own recognizance.

On September 5, 2020, Mr. and Mrs. Jimenez used a smoke bomb to reveal the gender of their pregnancy at the El Dorado Park in the City of Yucaipa, California, which sparked a brush fire that in turn became known as the El Dorado Fire. 

The El Dorado Fire burned through 22k acres, resulting in the death of US. Forest Service Wildland Firefighter Charles Morton; injured two additional firefighters, loss or damage of residential buildings, and displaced several local communities and residents across San Bernardino and Riverside counties. I would like to extend my condolences to the family and loved ones of U.S. Firefighter Charles Morton. 

No less than 6 agencies were involved in containing, extinguishing, and investigating the El Dorado Fire.  I would like to personally thank the United States Forest Service, Cal Fire, the San Bernardino County Fire Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff /Homicide Division and the City of Yucaipa, for their investigative efforts in this case. 

I would also like to thank Supervising DDA Jill Gregory and Major Crimes DDA Lisa Crane for presenting this case to the Grand Jury.