In a case of reality turning into something out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, a man called Dennis Dickey accidentally caused an Arizona wildfire resulting in a $220k fine when his attempt at a gender reveal went terribly wrong
Gender reveal parties have become increasingly popular, with parents slicing open cakes to reveal pink or blue colours (oh, gender norms), popping multi-coloured balloons and now, apparently, setting whole deserts ablaze with nothing but a rifle and a bag of fairy dust.
In April of 2017, Dennis, an off-duty border patrol officer, decided he wanted to reveal the gender of his offspring in the most extra way possible – by loading up a target with coloured powder and the high-grade explosive, Tannerite.
How no one foresaw how terribly wrong this was going to go as soon as a ‘high-grade explosive’ was mentioned, we will never know.
Still, with his wife next to him, Dennis proceeded to shoot the target with a rifle in order to trigger an explosion and reveal the coloured dust ascribing a gender to their unborn – and unsuspecting – fetus to the world.
Unfortunately, it did not go as planned, as the explosion sparked a massive wildfire and set the arid desert ablaze. It tore through the state of Arizona for a whole week, stretching across 47,000 acres of land and causing up to $8million in damages.
The Daily Star reports that it took around 80 firefighters to control the blaze and forced many people to evacuate their homes.
In Dennis’s defence, he did own up to starting the wildfire and was slapped with a misdemeanour charge of starting a fire without a permit.
“It was a complete accident,” Dickey said in court on Friday, according to the Daily Star. “I feel absolutely horrible about it. It was probably one of the worst days of my life.”
Luckily, no injuries were reported, so at least there’s that. Dennis has reportedly received five years of probation and will have to pay the court $500 a month for 20 years, including a straight up fine of $100,000. Yep, that’s $220,000 he has to pay.
Now that’s one expensive party. Let’s stick to popping multi-coloured balloons from now on. Or y’know, not bother and wait until a child is born to express their own gender as they themselves see fit, if they ever do at all.