Arraignment Due for Man Accused in House Fire That Killed Parents, Sister
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A man accused of setting a fire that killed his parents and sister at the family’s Logan Heights home was due to appear in court Tuesday.
Wilber Romero, 26, was booked into county jail Friday on suspicion of arson, three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the deadly Oct. 13 blaze that also seriously injured two other family members.
The fire in the 3100 block of Clay Avenue erupted shortly before 4:30 a.m.
“Neighbors told 911 dispatchers a family lived in the home and (that) they could hear screaming inside,” Lt. Martha Sainz said.
Arriving firefighters found the home fully enveloped in flames.
“Due to the intense fire conditions, it took a little while for us to get it knocked down and get in there and get those victims out,” San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Battalion Chief Steve Salaz told reporters.
One member of the family, 44-year-old Jose Antonio Romero, died in the charred residence. His wife, Nicalasa “Nico” Maya-Romero, 46, and their 21-year- old daughter, Iris Romero, died in a hospital over the next several days.
The couple’s other two children, a 23-year-old daughter and 16-year- old son, remain hospitalized.
Wilber Romero escaped the fire unharmed, Sainz said.
Authorities did not immediately disclose a suspected motive for the alleged act of homicidal arson.
In a taped interview with KGTV, Romero told the station that he woke up to find his bed on fire and tried to save his family, but was forced to save himself.
He later denied any involvement with the fire to CBS8, saying, “You can lock me up, but you’re not going to take me in to say this, `I did it.’ I’m not going to say it because I know I didn’t do it.”
The suspect was being held in San Diego Central Jail without bail pending his arraignment Tuesday afternoon.