by Publisher CoachellaValley | September 8, 2020 10:28 pm
Surveillance video reviewed by investigators in the El Dorado Fire showed a couple with several children walking into the grass while another person appears to light a device, CalFire investigator Capt. Bennet Milloy told Media, After it ignites, the family is seen scrambling and grabbing water bottles to try to douse the growing fire. Everyone involved has cooperated with investigators, Milloy said.
Fire officials have refused to release the video to Media, saying the investigation is ongoing. Fire investigators have identified at least three laws that were violated, including “igniting the land” and arson. The level of recklessness will determine whether those are filed as misdemeanors or felonies. Penalties would vary.
If the district attorney pursues the case, the person who ignited the pyrotechnic would be the person charged, Milloy explained.
“It really is a tragedy, it’s sad. They were hoping to remember the day in a different way,” Milloy said, adding that over 80% of fires are caused by humans and that people must be more aware of their surroundings. “You need to be extra cautious because you could be liable.”
Photo: CNN reports: It’s not the first time a gender reveal has started a fire. In 2017, an off-duty US Border Patrol agent shot a high powered rifle at a target packed with an explosive as part of a gender reveal, igniting a fire in Arizona that grew to nearly 47,000 acres and caused more than $8 million in damage.
He pleaded guilty in 2018 to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to five years’ probation and ordered to pay almost $8.2 million in restitution.
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