MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The father who lost five of his seven children to a house fire on Valentine’s Day is speaking out.

For 12 days, Troy Lewis has been at the side of his two surviving children. Lewis was able to grab 9-year-old Shaca and 5-year-old Electra from the duplex on Colfax Avenue North when it went up in flames.

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On Wednesday, he spoke about the pain he’s dealt with for 12 days, pain that he believes will never go away.

Lewis says not a day goes by that he does not think about the five children he lost. His pain is real. He cries when he talks about how he tried to save his children and smiles only when he speaks about the two who survived — on the mend.

That’s how Lewis describes his children. He says they look good considering all they’ve been through.

“Three days ago, I told them that their brother and sisters were dead. My daughter, Shaca, took it the hardest. My daughter Electra, well, she is still in daze. She don’t want to talk about it. My daughter, Shaca, don’t want to talk about it,” Lewis said.

Lewis wants everyone to know he tried everything to save his kids.

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“When I opened the door it was like hell,” Lewis said.

Lewis said he jumped out the window and ran to the back of the duplex to try and get them out.

“I heard my children hissing for air and I found two at the bottom of the stairs and I brought those two downs and then I brought a third one down that I don’t even know she was dead. I went back to try and get more but the fire and the smoke beat me back,” Lewis said.

Lewis admits he used space heaters and left the oven open to help warm the house he says had no heat.

Funerals for the five children who died in that fire will take place at Shiloh Temple Saturday at 11 a.m.

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A fund has been set up at TCF Bank to help Shaca, Electra and their dad regroup.

Reg Chapman