Funds raised for Syrian refugee parents who lost all seven children in Canada house fire
All seven children from the Barho family died early on Tuesday in a fast-moving house fire described as Nova Scotia's deadliest blaze in recent memory. They were among the 1,795 Syrian refugees who had come to Nova Scotia in recent years.
The father, Ebraheim Barho, was reported to be fighting for his life after apparently trying in vain to save his children, who ranged in age from about three months to the mid-teens. The mother, Kawthar Barho, also was hospitalised with injuries but was expected to survive.
The community held a vigil for the family on Wednesday evening in Halifax, according to one of the groups that helped resettle the refugees and was attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In a Twitter message following the tragedy, Trudeau said his "heart goes out to the survivors of this horrible fire... and loved ones who are mourning this tremendous loss.
"Words fail when children are taken from us too soon, especially in circumstances like this."
Family friends of the victims, the Imam Council of Halifax, and the Hants East Assisting Refugees Team [HEART] Society initiated the GoFundMe crowd-funding drive for the Barho family, according to the website.
The family arrived in Canada in 2017 and was the first family sponsored by the HEART Society. News of the deadly fire was a blow for the Canadians who sponsored them.
"Everyone is devastated, and our loss pales in comparison to the parents," said Natalie Horne, vice president of HEART.
Horne said the family arrived on September 29, 2017. She identified the children as Ahmad, 14; Rola, 12; Mohamad, 9; Ola, 8; Hala, 3; Rana, 2; and Abdullah, born in November.
She said the family came from Raqqa, Syria, and lived in Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, for over a year before moving to Halifax to be closer to refugee support services, such as English-language training.
But she said the family missed the support of the community in Elmsdale and had been planning to move back in a few more days.
A neighbour, Danielle Burt, told CBC that she heard an explosion in the middle of the night before seeing the flames ravaging the home.
"I heard a huge bang, and I was laying in bed with my daughter, followed by a woman screaming, so I jumped up out of bed and looked out the back window and all I could see was flames shooting out from the back door going out onto their deck," she said.
Firefighters responded at 12:40 am. Police said the cause of the fire remained under investigation.