Sunset Hills Elementary Families Prepare for Tough Week After 2 Students Die in Condo Fire

Seven-year-old Isabella Lopez and her brother, 10-year-old Cristos, were killed in a fire at their condo Saturday morning

Sam Trink's son, Parker, and Cristos Lopez were both fifth graders at Sunset Hills Elementary in Rancho Pensquitos. They were best friends and had known each other since kindergarten.

“They played basketball, they played Nerf guns, Legos,” Trink told NBC 7.

Seven-year-old Isabella Lopez was like Parker's little sister, she said. “Parker was very protective of Bella.”

Both Cristos, 10, and Bella were killed in a fire in their Rancho Bernardo condo Saturday morning.

“They were just really good kids,” Trink said. “Bella coming you know 100 feet away, she would see you and [give] a big smile, [and] would come running up. … Cristos would give you the shirt off his back. I mean he just, anybody that needed anything, he would do it.”

Cristos and Isabella were in their second story unit off Bernardo Terrace. Their dad, a 37-year-old, was also inside. He survived the fire and is in critical condition at UCSD Medical Center.

Fire Investigators are still trying to pinpoint what started the fire.

“It's sad to have him here one day and the next day they're gone,” Trink said.

Trink, like many parents in the neighborhood, had to break the news to her son ahead of school Monday.

“He's ‘I don't understand. Something doesn't seem right. I can't believe that they're both gone.’ And it's the same question the other kids are having. He's in shock,” she said.

She said students at the school are using constructive ways to deal with their grief.

“I know a lot of the kids have already started to put together poems and pictures and letters to put on the desks, and I think that's going to hit them probably even harder. There’s an empty desk that their friend sat in, and that's going to be very difficult for all of them,” she said.

Sunset Hills says they will have grief counselors at the school for students and staff on Monday. 

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