A father who lost his 12-year-old son in a midnight blaze remembered his son as a playful, smart young boy, saying he has been thinking about Fernando constantly.
“I mean, it hurts. It hurts a lot. I miss him,” said Sal Castro, father of Fernando. “I just can’t get his voice out of my ear. I can hear him.”
Fernando Castro, 12, was found inside the burned-out single-story home on J Street near Toyne in the Mount Hope community in the early hours of Monday morning.
Sal came to the scene of the fire and got the news that his son had died. Fernando’s half-sister, 3-year-old Esmeralda, and his 5-year-old half-brother Luis, were both seriously burned.
The grieving father told NBC 7 he appreciates all the neighbors who tried to help save his children.
“Once they saw smoke, they tried to break the window and do their best before the fire department got there,” he said. “They got hurt, and I want to thank them too for doing what they could.”
Sal also thanked the friends and strangers who left flowers and notes on his home’s gate.
Fernando’s cousin Ramon Vasquez stopped by the Mt. Hope area before visiting his two family members at UCSD Medical Center, where they were being treated for burns covering 80 percent of their bodies. Both are in critical condition and had to be placed in medically induced comas, family members say.
“Everybody’s in there trying to get as much… we haven’t even eaten,” Vasquez said. “Hard to eat, hard to go on, and thank God so many have helped out.”
A babysitter and her boyfriend were with the children while their mother drove her eldest child back to college after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. A neighbor told NBC 7 he heard the babysitter say one of the children may have put a space heater by the bed.
Fire officials have not determined the cause of the fire although they say they are ruling it an accident.
There are several online fundraising accounts set up to help the family handle memorial and medical costs as well as replace their belongings.