The blaze erupted at the couple's home on the 4900 block of North Genevieve Lane around 2 a.m.
Nearby residents heard the screams of their elderly neighbor, identified as Donna Stine, ran outside and saw smoke and flames coming out of her home. They say she had tried to pull her husband Jack out of the house, but couldn't save him. A Good Samaritan then attempted a rescue.
"I got a chair and I busted out the windows, got the fire to go out as much as I could," said Greg Oriomonge.
As smoke poured out of the house, Greg ran inside several times, attempting to rescue Jack.
"I went back into the house another time and I pulled him out of the house," said Greg, "I just wish I could have gotten to him a little sooner."
Jack later succumbed to his injuries. His wife Donna was rushed to a local hospital in serious condition. Officials say she suffered severe burns and smoke inhalation.
Arson investigators say the fire was confined to the front bedroom area. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but investigators are looking into the possibility that the fire was triggered by a power surge after a car ran into a nearby power pole.
"There is a possibility that the hit-and-run accident that occurred off of 40th that hit the power pole is linked to this fire," said Steve Tracy of the San Bernardino City Fire Department.
Neighbor Rachel Perl said the couple had lived on North Genevieve Lane for over 40 years.
"They were there for anybody, at anytime, just very caring, very special people," said Perl.