San Diego

Daughter Burned in Logan Heights House Fire on Life Support: Family

Family members said Iris "Krystal" Romero was brain dead and on life support, and said relatives are mulling whether or not to let her go

The Logan Heights community gathered Tuesday night to honor two parents killed in a fire that ravaged their home on Sunday, and to pray for their daughter who is in the hospital on life support.

NBC 7 spoke with relatives of the family Monday who confirmed the deaths of the couple, Jose Antonio Romero and Nicolasa Mayo.

A day later, family members told NBC 7 the Romero's 21-year-old daughter Iris "Krystal" was brain dead and on life support, and said her family was mulling whether or not to let her go.

The deadly blaze sparked at the Romero family's home along the 3100 block of Clay Avenue just before 4:30 a.m.

Firefighters said Iris used her body as a shield to protect her brother from being burned. When she was rescued, she would not let go of her brother.

The couple's son Angel, 17, and older daughter Wendy, 24, remain hospitalized and the couple's oldest child, 26-year-old Wilber, has since been released from the hospital.

The Greater Antioch Church of God In Christ is next door to the Romero home. The family was not part of the congregation, but the tragedy compelled parishioners and loved ones to pray there Tuesday night.

Wilber addressed vigil attendees and thank them for their prayers. He shared a warm embrace with good Samaritan Byron Doxey who pulled Iris out of the home.

"I reached out and I grabbed her and yanked her out as hard as I could," Doxey said. "I know the door hurt but I had to get her out."

Fire investigators aren't sure how the fire started but arson has been ruled out. Family members verify there were no working smoke alarms in the house.

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. A GoFundMe page was created to help the surviving Romeros.

"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," neighbor Jamie Felix said.

Felix said the Wilber 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.

Neighbor 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."

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