The family of an Alexandria man who has just woken up from a coma is struggling with how to tell him his girlfriend and three children are dead.

Martin Desjardins was in a medically-induced coma in Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital after suffering severe burns Aug. 12, when a fire ripped through his family home.

That blaze killed his girlfriend, 22-year-old Sarah Cholette, as well as his three children: three-year-old Chloe, 19-month-old Maxime and nine-month-old Jacob.

"He mentioned Sarah's name not yesterday, but the day before," said his sister Natasha. "He's looking around for her."

The family said they know Martin has to find out eventually, they just don't know how to tell him.

"The doctors were actually talking up in Sunnybrook," she said. "They were actually talking about yesterday to tell him the news. Because he's got a little bit of a fever they've postponed that a little bit."

Local families said the fire has changed their routines.

"I couldn't sleep for about a week after it," said Stephanie Lanthier. "Make sure you turn everything off in the house now. I changed all my fire alarms, the batteries, everything."

Martin's father, Ronald, chose not to talk on-camera, but said he's grateful for all the support.

He said the doctors won't lie if Martin asks what happened to his family, but he's hoping it can wait until he makes it to Toronto next week.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes