San Diego

Memorial Set for Family Killed in Suspected Logan Heights Arson

Jose Antonio Romero, Nicolasa Mayo, and Iris Romero died after an Oct. 13 fire at their family home on Clay Avenue

A memorial service was planned Thursday for a San Diego couple and their adult daughter killed in a Logan Heights house fire last month -- a fire that investigators believe was set on purpose by the couple's own son.

A memorial was set to take place at the Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, for Iris "Krytal" Romero, 21, and her parents, Jose Antonio Romero, 44, and Nicolasa Mayo, 46. The church is located about five miles northeast of the family's home, where the suspected arson took place on Oct. 13.

That day, just before 4:30 a.m., a fire raged through the Romero family's home on Clay Avenue. Six people were home at the time: the Romero parents and their four grown children. 

Angel Romero, 17, and his sister Wendy Romero, 24, were badly hurt and hospitalized. Their brother, Wilber Romero, 26, was also hospitalized but released shorly after the fire.

The Romero parents and Iris "Krystal" Romero did not survive their injuries.

A few days after the fire, Wilber Romero was arrested on suspicion of arson in connection to the house fire that killed his family. Wilber Romero faces three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson with great bodily injury, and one charge of resisting arrest.

He pleaded not guilty and is due back in court on Nov. 18.

According to Tania Flores, a relative of the victims, Iris "Krystal" Romero used her body as a shield to protect her brother, Angel Romero, from being burned.

Investigators said inadequate and outdated security measures may have made it difficult for the family to escape the fiery inferno at their home.

Wilber Romero, who has a criminal record, was on probation at the time of the alleged arson. He had been sleeping outside when the blaze sparked. His screams alerted neighbors to the deadly fire.

For the first time Thursday, NBC 7 spoke with Wendy Romero ahead of the memorial for her sister and parents. Her heart, understandably, was heavy. 

“The community has been really supportive and helpful, and I really thank them because I don’t know what I would’ve done with out the community helping us,” said Wendy Romero. 

Romero said she hopes to keep a brave face for her brother Angel Romero as they continue forward. 

"I want to go back to school, and for my brother also I want him to go back to school, and I want to graduate," described Wendy Romero. 

She hopes to study Psychology and become a counselor one day. Her brother Angel Romero hopes to become a chef.

Meanwhile, friends of the Romero family have created an online fundraising page to help cover funeral and medical expenses for the family in the middle of this tragedy. As of Thursday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had raised nearly $21,000.

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