San Diego man said he tried to save parents, sister who died in fire. Now hes a suspect. – NBC News

A San Diego man was arrested Friday in connection to a devastating house fire that killed his parents and sister and injured two other siblings.

Wilber Romero, 26, faces charges of arson, first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, NBC San Diego reported.

He is being held without bail and is expected to make his first court appearance on Tuesday, NBC San Diego reported.

The inferno started early Sunday morning, a little before 4:30 a.m., and tore through the small home while at least five members of the family were inside.

The suspect’s parents — Jose Antonio Romero, 44, and Nicolasa Mayo, 46 — died in the blaze, as did Iris “Krystal” Romero, 21, who used her body as a shield to protect her 17-year-old brother, Angel Romero, from the fire, family member Tania Flores told NBC San Diego.

Iris and her two siblings were transported to a hospital soon after firefighters and neighbors worked together to pull them out of the blaze. She became brain dead and died Wednesday night, police told NBC San Diego, while Angel Romero and his sister, Wendy Romero, 24, remain in the hospital with the expectation that they will recover.

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Family friend Lauren Garibay told The San Diego Union-Tribune that Wendy Romero tried so hard to escape that she broke her fingers while beating on the door.

“It’s tragic,” Garibay told the local paper. “Right now we are wrapping our heads around it. It’s unbelievable.”

Neighbors, meanwhile, told NBC San Diego that suspect Wilber Romero ran down the street screaming for help as the fire overwhelmed his family’s home.

Wilber Romero previously told reporters at ABC News affiliate KGTV that he awoke Sunday morning to find his bed on fire and said he tried to save his family.

“My dogs were jumping on me, trying to wake me up,” he told the local news station on Monday. “I woke up. When I woke up, my bed was on fire. I jumped out of bed and started screaming the house is on fire.”

In a later interview with CBS News 8, the night before he was arrested, Wilber Romero grew defiant and denied that he had any involvement in the blaze.

“You can lock me up, but you’re not going to take me in for me to say this: ‘I did it,'” he said. “I’m not going to say it because I didn’t do it.”

Wilber Romero was questioned previously by police in connection to the fire, but authorities let him go.

It was not immediately clear if he has a lawyer.

Police have not released any details on how the fire started.

Neighbors and friends, meanwhile, have pulled together to help the family. A nearby church had a vigil on Tuesday, and neighbors held a car wash to raise funds for the family. An online fundraising campaign has also been started.

“I just hope God gives them the strength to overcome this situation,” Yasmin Fuentes, another family friend, told NBC San Diego.