The San Diego Union-Tribune
A second person has died as a result of an early morning fire in a Logan Heights home over the weekend, authorities and a family friend confirmed Monday.
The two people killed were a married couple, according to family friend Lauren Garibay. The fire also left the youngest three of their four children injured. Garibay said the three injured people — a 17-year-old-boy and his two older sisters — remained hospitalized as of Monday afternoon.
“It’s tragic,” Garibay said. “Right now we are wrapping our heads around it. It’s unbelievable.”
Someone called 911 just after 4:20 a.m Sunday to report the fire ripping through the family’s home on Clay Avenue, near South 31st Street, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials.
When firefighters arrived three minutes later, most of the home was engulfed in flames.
Fire crews pulled six people from the house. One died at the scene. Four others were taken to a hospital.
According to the fire department, investigators were not able to determine what caused the fire, but did conclude it was not arson. Officials said the home had no smoke alarms.
Garibay, who created a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses, identified the couple Monday as Jose Antonio Romero and Nicolasa “Nico” Mayo. She said Romero died at the scene, and Mayo died at the hospital.
“They were nice people,” Garibay said. “They were good people.”
A spokeswoman for the county Medical Examiner’s Office said police had sealed the case file, so officials were unable to confirm the names Garibay provided. The spokeswoman did, however, confirm that a second person had died as a result of the fire.
Garibay said the oldest daughter was “in such desperation” that she broke her fingers while beating on a door trying to escape the burning home. The other daughter, she said, was found shielding her brother, who had passed out.
According to Garibay, Mayo had just celebrated her birthday on Saturday. Garibay did not know Mayo’s exact age, but believed her to be in her 40s.
She said Mayo had been in good spirits in recent weeks, with a job promotion and other good news within the family.
“She was always nice,” Garibay said. “Even if you needed five dollars and she only had four, she would give you those four. She was a giving person, always trying to help everyone.”
The children, she said, are “the best example” and “always super nice.”
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