Authorities identify 76-year-old man killed in Paradise Hills Fire

SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Authorities Tuesday identified a 76-year-old man who was fatally injured in a house fire over the weekend in Paradise Hills that also seriously injured a second man.

Alex Ballisteros and the other man, whose identity has not been released by the county Medical Examiner’s Office, were pulled from the burning home in the 2900 block of Calle Cumbre around 10:15 p.m. Saturday.

Ballisteros had severe burns, was unconscious and wasn’t breathing when firefighters pulled him into the front yard of the home, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Paramedics performed CPR on Ballisteros on the way to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, where he was pronounced dead at 12:29 a.m. Sunday.

The other man cited Ballisteros’ family members in identifying him as Robert Riggs, was also taken to the same hospital in critical condition. An update on his condition was not immediately available.

Witnesses and neighbors described hearing the men scream for help while trapped in the garage of the home, but the intensity of the fire prevented neighbors from helping before firefighters arrived.

Family members at the home Monday told local media that Ballisteros was a San Diego native who attended Lincoln High School, served in the Air Force and was an accomplished artist.

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s Metro Arson Strike Team determined the blaze was accidental, but the cause remains under investigation, spokeswoman Monica Munoz said. It took firefighters 45 minutes to knock down the flames.