Nearly a week ago, a California family gathered for a gender reveal. But rather than celebrating their new addition’s arrival, the family was soon in a panic, as a device meant to reveal the baby’s gender instead sparked a forest fire that has engulfed more than 10,000 acres.
“It really is a tragedy, it’s sad,” CalFire investigator Capt. Bennet Milloy told CNN. “They were hoping to remember the day in a different way.”
A video of the gender reveal gone wrong hasn’t been release, but Milloy described what happened: a group with several children gathered near tall grass. One person lit a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device,” which quickly caused a fire. The family scrambled and tried to douse the fire, but to no avail. The El Dorado Fire has been burning since.
“In my 30 years as a citizen in Yucaipa, I have never seen such a large fire,” David Avila, Mayor of Yucaipa, California, said Monday. “As a retired firefighter with 32 years of experience, I can assure you I witnessed one of the most dangerous fires that we can have in this area.”
Milloy said that family is cooperating with the investigation. Still, charges are possible. Charges would be filed against the person who lit the device and could range from “igniting the land” to arson. The intent of the person who lit the device will determine whether the charges are filed as misdemeanors or felonies.
Other people should learn from the family’s experience, Milloy said.
“You need to be extra cautious because you could be liable,” he said.
Amazingly, this isn’t the first time that a gender reveal party has caused a massive wild fire. In 2017, a man hit an exploding target to discover that he was expecting a son. Unfortunately, the explosion also sparked a massive fire that eventually burned 47,000 acres.
The dad, Dennis Dickey, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of US Forest Service regulations and was sentenced to five years’ probation. He was also ordered to pay $8 million in damages.
The second disaster sparked by a gender reveal has caused people to push back against the parties, which have become popular in the last few years. Blogger Jenna Karvunidis was one of the people who pushed the popularity of gender reveals, but she even criticized the parties in a Facebook post this week.
“Stop it,” she wrote. “Stop having these stupid parties. For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid’s penis. No one cares but you.”
She continued, “Toxic masculinity is men thinking they need to explode something because simply enjoying a baby party is for sissies.”
Oh my god NO.The fire that evacuated parts of California is from a GENDER REVEAL PARTY.Stop it. Stop having these…
Gender reveal parties have long been criticized by LGBTQ+ advocates. Parents are often able to detect an infant’s biological sex — male or female — from an ultrasound. People often equate biological sex with gender — being a boy or a girl. However, many people believe that gender is a social construct that one chooses. They argue that gender reveal parties ignore the reality that a child might identify with a gender that doesn’t align with their biological sex.
One couple, Love and Brandon Gwaltney of Ohio, went viral over the summer for a unique take on a gender reveal. They introduced the world to their son, who had been assigned female at birth.
Boy or girl?…………..The first thing we wonder about when we get pregnant (after all the holy crap! I'…
“We wanted to announce that we got it wrong 17 years ago when we told the world we were having a little girl, and named that child McKenzie,” Love Gwaltney, the mom, wrote in a Facebook post. “So we’d like to introduce you to our SON: Grey.”