Uh oh! A border patrol agent’s gender reveal party last April didn’t turn out as anybody expected, with their elaborate plan igniting a wildfire that ultimately cost authorities $8 million to put out.
Dennis Dickey, 37, was just like any other father-to-be excited to find out the gender of their baby with family and friends. He set up their party during a dry, windy day at the Coronado National Forest in Arizona. Reports indicated that he set up a target that would turn pink or blue once fired at; but unbeknownst to him, also filled the target up with the highly explosive substance Tannerite. The blast sent sparks into the dry brush surrounding the park, and quickly turned into what officials dubbed the Sawmill fire.
Dickey apparently tried to put out the fast moving flames, investigators said, but when that proved futile for their small group, they also alerted fire responders to the scene. According to Buzzfeed, the fire, which lasted for two weeks, ultimately took about 800 firefighters to put out.
Investigators said the blaze was exacerbated by strong 40 miles per hour winds, and spread through most of the arid forest of the Santa Rita mountains and through thousands of acres belonging to the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, the Buzzfeed report added.
While no lives were lost or buildings destroyed, the fire did cause some residents to flee their homes.
Dickey has since pleaded guilty to the case last Friday, and has to pay $220, 000 in restitution. He reportedly has to cough up $100,000 when he is sentenced on Oct. 9 to five years probation and public service with the Forest Service, and will pay the remaining amount in $500 monthly installments for the next 20 years.
It was not made clear if he also has responsibility in the $8 million worth of damages.
“It was a complete accident. I feel absolutely horrible about it. It was probably one of the worst days of my life,” Dickey was quoted saying in The Star.
There won’t be any word either on the gender of their incoming little one.