SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) — The couple accused of starting the deadly El Dorado fire last September near Yucaipa has been charged with eight felony counts and 22 misdemeanor counts, San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson announced Tuesday.
Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez each face one felony count of involuntary manslaughter, three felony counts of recklessly causing a fire causing great bodily injury, four felony counts of recklessly causing a fire to inhabited structures and 22 misdemeanor counts of recklessly causing fire to property of another.
The fire began Sept. 5 and was caused by a malfunctioning pyrotechnical device used at a gender reveal party. By the time the fire was extinguished Nov. 16, it had burned 22,680 acres in the Oak Glen/Yucaipa Ridge area and within the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area of the San Bernardino National Forest.
At the peak of the fire, there were 1,351 personnel assigned to the fire. One firefighter, Charlie Morton, died and 13 other people were injured. There were four residences damages, five residences and 15 other structures destroyed.
Anderson said the pair pleaded not guilty Tuesday and were released on their own recognizance. They are due back in court Sept. 15.
CBSLA was unable to get in contact with the couple, though they each face up to 20 years behind bars if convicted as charged.
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