Vigil Held for Victims of Deadly Duplex Fire in N. Mpls

Updated: 02/16/2014 4:35 PM
Created: 02/15/2014 7:37 PM
By: Josh Rosenthal

Five of the seven children in the Lewis family lost their lives when their home in a North Minneapolis duplex started on fire Friday morning.

You don't have to know the family to feel for the family.

"When the future of our community suffers in this way, there aren't words," said Cody Menning, one of the dozens of people who attended a vigil for the victims of Friday's fire. Two more children, along with their father, are still in the hospital.

"I'm here because I'm a teacher, I'm here because a parent, I'm here because I care," explained Shannon Edberg.

Added Pamela Holland-Mills, "I think that whenever there's tragedy like that, you wonder why."

Despite the seven children being so young, Friday's fire wasn't their first tragedy. At the end of last year, the children's mother passed away. That left their dad to raise seven kids on his own.

"We supported them through the loss of their mother, and now through this tragedy, we'll be there for them as well," Melissa Jackson said at the vigil. She is the principal at Bethune Community School, where some of the kids went to school.

"All just beautiful, strong children. Loved coming to school," she said. "Loved being a part of the school community, and it's just sad to see that they won't be with us anymore."

Other people at the vigil didn't know the family personally, but they don't need to. Take Farhil Khalif, who has children of her own.

"This is very sad," she said, "because I just, it could have been anybody's child, you know?"

Shannon Jones is a mother too. As she put it, "I'm a mom. I know what, you know, I can't even imagine how that father's feeling right now."

Both Jones and Khalif - like so many other people at the vigil - know what it's like to love their own kids. They went to the vigil because they can't imagine what it would be like to lose them.

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