Gender reveal party results in guilty plea in Arizona fire

Posted at 12:49 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 14:49:00-04

A Border Patrol agent pleaded guilty last Friday to starting an Arizona wildfire by shooting a rifle at a target intended to reveal the gender of his baby.

37-year old Dennis Dickey, of Tucson, Arizona, pleaded guilty to causing the Sawmill Fire, which burned 47,000 acres and torched swaths of the Coronado National Forest.  According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the fire caused more than $8-million-dollars in damage.

Dickey accidentally started the fire by shooting a target filled with a color substance, which would burst out in pink or blue, depending on the sex of his and his wife’s child.

Gender-reveal events have grown in popularity over the last decade and typically involve parents popping balloons, cutting into cakes, or doing other everyday tasks that reveal the color pink or blue, indicating the sex of their baby.

Dickey’s target contained Tannerite, which is a highly explosive substance. When he shot at it, the explosion sparked the fire that took nearly 800 firefighters a week to fight in April of 2017.

As soon as the explosion triggered the fire, Dickey, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, who was off-duty at the time, called the police and admitted to starting the fire.

By pleading guilty, he agreed to five years of probation and more than $8.1-million-dollars in restitution with an initial payment of $100,000.

Although he agreed to the restitution sum, it’s unclear if he will pay the total amount. Dickey also agreed to star in a public service announcement with the U.S. Forest Service.

He will be sentenced on October 9th, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Arizona.