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Father Accused in Fatal Rancho Bernardo Condo Fire Appears in Court

A San Diego man is accused of drinking himself to sleep and passing out with a lit cigarette, causing a fire in Rancho Bernardo that killed his two children last fall.Firefighters found a melted whiskey bottle next to a bed while investigating the Oct. 28 fire sparked by discarded smoking materials, prosecutors said.  San Diego Teen’s Illness Turns Into Bacterial Meningitis Henry Lopez was intoxicated that day when he was found at the top of the stairs in the two-story condo on Bernardo Terrace.His 7-year-old daughter, Isabella Lopez, was found in bed in a separate bedroom from her father. She died of smoke inhalation at a nearby hospital.  Carlsbad Flower Fields to Open for 2018 Season San Diego Fire-Rescue Capt. Jared Cheselske described the moment when he discovered one of the children. “After I cleared the top bunk when I came to the bottom bunk when I was sweeping across as I swept across the bottom bunk I found what appeared to be a young child,” Cheselske said.  Groping Suspect Strikes Again in South Bay Isabelle was found next to a stuffed teddy bear and an open Bible. Cristos Lopez, 10, was found with burn injuries and smoke inhalation in his father’s bedroom. He died later of his injuries.Lopez faces five felonies including two counts of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of child endangerment causing death and one count of reckless fire starting. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges in December. Prosecutors say Lopez had a blood-alcohol level at .26 percent when it was taken at the hospital.  In comparison, a BAC of 0.08 percent or above is illegal to operate a vehicle in California while 0.04 percent or above is the limit for drivers of commercial vehicles. The children’s father had allegedly threatened to burn down the family’s home weeks before the fire that killed his children, according to court documents.In a temporary restraining order obtained by NBC 7, the children’s mother, Nikia Lopez, said her husband texted her, “I will burn all of this (expletive) down” in a conversation about a missing mortgage payment.Nikia Lopez testified Tuesday that she had recently fought with the defendant over a lighted marijuana joint found next to a bed.If convicted of all charges, Henry Lopez could face 14 years in prison. Photo Credit: NBC 7
Source: NBC San Diego

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