LIFE

Dad Admits To Starting Enormous Wildfire During Baby’s Gender Reveal, Gets Hit With Massive Fine

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a Brooklyn, NY-based editor and writer, with a focus on lifestyle and entertainment content. She has bylines on MSN, HelloGiggles, Business Insider, Romper, Redbook Magazine, and more. In her free time, she enjoys watching (and talking!) about television and fostering dogs through a local rescue.

Elaborate gender reveals are all the rage nowadays. So many have gone massively viral online, leading to expectant parents trying to top one another by pulling stunts that haven’t been attempted before.

But one dad inadvertently went too far with his 2017 gender reveal.

According to a statement released by the United States Attorney’s Office of Arizona, Dennis Dickey, a 37-year-old border patrol agent from Tucson, Arizona, pleaded guilty in late September to a misdemeanor federal charge of causing a fire without a permit. Dennis, who was off duty at the time, ignited a raging wildfire on April 23, 2017.

Dennis accidentally started the fire by shooting at a target with a rifle.

The target had Tannerite, an extremely explosive substance, inside it. People reports that it was intended to detonate as part of the gender reveal, with either blue or pink powder indicating whether the baby-to-be was a boy or a girl.

Instead, the explosion started a fire that spread and eventually resulted in damage to over 45,000 acres of land, with nearly 800 firefighters battling the flames. The wildfire (depicted in the video below) was referred to as the Sawmill Fire and took about two weeks to be contained.

“Dickey immediately reported the fire to law enforcement, cooperated, and admitted that he started the fire,” the statement read.

In pleading guilty, Dennis agreed to five years’ probation and to make a PSA in conjunction with the US Forest Service about the fire’s cause. He also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $8,188,069, with an initial payment of $100,000 and monthly payments following.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported and no buildings were damaged as a result of the fiery blaze. Dennis also expressed his extreme remorse and regret, calling the incident “a complete accident.”

“I feel absolutely horrible about it,” he told a judge, according to the Arizona Daily Star. “It was probably one of the worst days of my life.”

Credit: Scott Griessel via Storyful

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