A mother and father were killed and their four grown children were hospitalized after a fire ripped through the family's home in Logan Heights Sunday, officials confirmed.
NBC 7 spoke with relatives of the family Monday who confirmed the deaths of the parents in the house fire, identifying the couple as Jose Antonio Romero and Nicolasa Mayo.
Relatives said three of the parents' children remained hospitalized Monday: son Angel Romero, 17; daughter Iris 'Krystal' Romero, 21; daughter Wendy Romero, 24. The couple's fourth child, Wilber Romero, 26, has since been released from the hospital.
Family member Tania Flores told NBC 7 that those who survived suffered severe burns. One of the daughters suffered third degree burns on 30 percent of her body.
Iris "Krystal" Romero, 21, used her body as a shield to protect her brother from being burned. When firefighters rescued her, she would not let go of her brother. Flores said Iris Krystal Romero can hear and feel but cannot talk or open her eyes.
Iris Romero was brain dead and on life support as of Tuesday, a family members told NBC 7.
Some of the children have not yet been told both their parents died, Flores added.
The Romero family is originally from De Guerrero, Mexico. They had lived in San Diego for the past 15 years, relatives told NBC 7.
Relatives say the financial burden of the surgeries, funeral expenses and future living costs without their parents will be tough and they expect to be reaching out for help soon.
The deadly blaze sparked at the Romero family's home along the 3100 block of Clay Avenue just before 4:30 a.m. Sunday. Crews with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department rushed to the burning home. There were reports of people trapped inside.
Jamie Felix, a long-time family friend who lives next door, said he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the flames pouring from the Romero family's home.
"I thought it was like a scary movie. I thought it was a nightmare, honestly. I’m just like, 'This is not real. This is not really happening,'" Felix said.
SDFD Battalion Chief Steve Salaz said the flames were raging as firefighters arrived at the scene.
"Due to the intense fire conditions, it took a little while for us to get it knocked down and get in there and get those victims out," Salaz explained.
All six Romero family members were pulled out of the home, many of whom needed CPR. Officials declared one of those victims dead at the scene of the fire.
At this point, it is unclear if the family member who died at the scene was Jose Antonio Romero or Nicolasa Mayo.
Salaz said the five other victims were taken to UC San Diego Regional Burn Center with a range of injuries.
Felix told NBC 7 the victims were all members of the same family of six: parents and their four children, who had lived at the house for more than a decade.
"They’re good people. Like everybody around the neighborhood knows them. They’re, like, known around here. They’re just decent, good, regular human being people," he said.
Felix said the eldest son had been sleeping outside when the fire began, so he was able to scream for help. His screams alerted neighbors to what was happening at the house early Sunday.
The family lives in a close-knit neighborhood, according to Felix, and several neighbors rushed to temper flames. One neighbor said he tried to enter the burning house to help the family, but the flames were too intense.
Nieghbor Jose Barriento explained to Telemundo 20 how he used a rock to free some of the family members.
"There was a person screaming at the window screaming to help him, Barriento said. "I ran and threw a large stone at the door. It broke and another one person came to open it."
The fire was knocked down about a half-hour later.
Officials closed Clay Avenue for several hours while they launched an investigation into the deadly blaze. For now, the cause is unknown.
As of Monday morning, further details on the conditions of the Romero siblings who remained hospitalized were unknown.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the family.