Updated: 02/17/2014 12:42 PM
Created: 02/17/2014 7:10 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
Much-needed financial help is expected to be delivered to a father who lost five children in a fire.
Troy Lewis and two of his children made it out of their North Minneapolis duplex that caught fire on Valentine’s Day. It is believed the fire started in the center of the second floor and then extended to the first floor before climbing to the third, Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said.
Lewis is in satisfactory condition, and the two children who survived – Shakka and Elektra – are in critical condition as of Monday morning.
On Sunday, a church service and fundraiser was held at New Salem Missionary Baptist, and at least $1,400 was raised. Mourners are also leaving behind flowers, well wishes, and toys at the destroyed duplex. The memorial was created by people who felt compelled to come by the home and pay their respects, even if they didn’t know the victims.
A family spokesperson, John Martin, tells KSTP that the family has picked up the bodies of those five young victims and has decided they will be cremated like their mother was when she passed away in October. Martin also says that funeral expenses for the five children are taken care of in full; Hennepin County has picked up the cost of all five funerals, donating a total of $10,500, or $2,100 per funeral.
The Lewis family is asking that all donations from now on go to clothing, food, furniture, medical expenses and shelter for the surviving three family members.
Donations can also be made to help the family who lived downstairs in the duplex. That family is currently being helped by the Red Cross.
Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at the office of:
The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers
67 8th Ave.
NE Minneapolis, MN 55413
According to Minneapolis Public Schools, one of the victims was a first grader and one was a second grader at Bethune Community School. The district has been working with teachers and parents on how to break the news to the young students. The school will have support and counseling for students Tuesday morning. Students will not be in school Monday due to Presidents Day.