The El Dorado fire that erupted on 5th of September near Oak Glen and west Yucaipa in San Bernardino County during a gender reveal party has burned 22,500 acres in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. As of Monday, around 60% had been contained, but it still threatens thousands of homes and many areas are under evacuation orders.
The video of the gender reveal party revealed the cause was a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device. The people organizing the party have been identified and are reported to be cooperating with the fire investigators. If a case is opened, the person who ignited the pyrotechnic would be the person charged, according to CalFire investigator Capt. Bennet Milloy.
A firefighter has been killed in California’s El Dorado Fire, which has scorched more than 19,000 acres since it was sparked by a gender reveal party over Labor Day weekend https://t.co/Tb8lURGEAJ
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) September 18, 2020
Sadly, one firefighter lost his life and thirteen were injured. The firefighter has been identified as Charles Morton, 39. He was a Big Bear Interagency Hotshot squad boss who had been with the Forest Service for 14 years.
Morton was respected by many and left behind a wife, daughter, his parents, and two brothers.
“Charlie was a well-respected leader who was always there for his squad and his crew at the toughest times,” Vicki Christiansen, U.S. Forest Service chief, said in a statement.
“Our hearts go out to Charlie’s loved ones, co-workers, friends and the Big Bear Hotshots. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”
“He’s loved and will be missed,” his family said in a statement provided by the Forest Service. “May he rest easy in heaven with his baby boy.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with the funeral expenses. “Charlie was a selfless man and he gave so much to his family, friends, and community,” the page read. “Charlie had big dreams and we would like to continue to fulfill those dreams for him.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Morton family and all the firefighters who are putting their lives on the line.