- Associated Press - Saturday, March 1, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday for the funeral of five children who were killed in a north Minneapolis duplex fire last month.

Five small white caskets were lined up in the front of Shiloh Temple Church Saturday, as family and friends comforted their father, Troy Lewis, the Star Tribune reported (http://strib.mn/1lrG2KT ).

Killed were 18-month-old Gwendolyn, 3-year-old Troy, 4-year-old Fannie, 6-year-old Mary and 8-year-old Christopher.

“Our hearts are exploding. … There are no words to describe how we feel right now,” said Lewis‘ sister, Debra Lewis of Chicago. “How hard it is for my brother to have his five beautiful angels in front of him.”

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, school Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson and Fire Chief John Fruetel attended as did several faith leaders, the children’s teachers, friends and family from around the country.

Lewis and his two other daughters, 9-year-old Shaca and 5-year-old Electra survived. The two girls remain hospitalized, but their father said Saturday they are improving.

Investigators still have not determined the cause of the fire but have said a space heater had been running for days and was located where the fire appears to have started.

Debra Lewis said that the five siblings will be remembered for so many good memories - from Christopher’s dimples and Mary’s smile to Fannie’s elegance. Three-year-old Troy, she added, was the family’s practical joker while baby Gwendolyn was the free spirit, showering those she loved with big hugs and kisses.

“You were there that morning, and we know you tried (to save them),” she told her brother. “Now we have to stand fast.”

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com