Firefighter killed after battling California wildfire sparked at gender reveal event


PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — A firefighter died Thursday battling a wildfire near Yucaipa that was sparked by a device used to reveal a baby’s gender.

The death occurred Thursday in the San Bernardino National Forest as crews battled the El Dorado Fire, the U.S. Forest Service said in a news release.

The cause is under investigation, and more details would be made available as they are confirmed, the forest service said. The name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service said in a statement.

No other information was released about the firefighter, the agency the firefighter worked for or the circumstances of the firefighter’s death.

The El Dorado Fire, which was sparked by a device used to reveal a baby’s gender on Sept. 5, has charred almost 30 square miles and was 66% contained as of Thursday night. The fire has destroyed 10 buildings and damaged six others.

The family that used a pyrotechnic device during the party have “absolutely been cooperating” with officials, Cal Fire Capt. Bennet Milloy told The Desert Sun last week.

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The device was set off in a field and quickly ignited dry grass. The couple frantically tried to use bottled water to extinguish the flames and called 911.

Authorities have not released the identities of the couple. No arrests had been made and it will be up to the district attorney whether any charges will be filed, Milloy said last week. Possible charges also depend on whether any homes are lost or injuries sustained, Milloy said at the time.

More than 17,000 firefighters are battling more than two dozen major wildfires in California. The blazes are blamed for at least 25 deaths.

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Contributing: Associated Press

Rebecca Plevin is a reporter for The Desert Sun. Follow her on Twitter at @rebeccaplevin.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Firefighter killed in California wildfire sparked by gender reveal

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