Seven children from Syrian refugee family killed in house fire in Halifax

Firefighters investigate following a house fire in the Spryfield community in Halifax on Tuesday

Firefighters investigate following a house fire in the Spryfield community in Halifax on Tuesday

The air was weighed down with sorrow as the imam for a Halifax mosque strung together pieces of heartwrenching information that devastated a refugee family, who fled to Canada in hopes of a better life.

The adult female sustained non-life threatening injuries and will be okay, while the man suffered 50 per cent burns over his body, Ribahi confirmed.

Al-shanti, along with several other Muslim community members, spent the majority of the day at the hospital supporting the grieving mother, who is unsure whether her husband will survive his injuries.

A neighbour says she was startled awake by frightful screams and got up and saw the flames then heard men yelling and saw a woman in distress in the street. "The police were kind of helping her, I don't know if they were holding her back from going back, but she was kind of falling down, they were lifting her up".

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage also offered words of condolence, saying the community "is heartbroken and our thoughts are with the loved ones of the family".

"People want to try to help, but how can we. how can we provide her with anything?" said Haridy. "It's a shock. It's a tragedy".

Philip Croucher is a reporter and Star bureau chief based in Halifax.

In a Twitter message, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his "heart goes out to the survivors of this awful fire ... and loved ones who are mourning this tremendous loss".

Next-door neighbour Danielle Burt says she awoke to a loud bang and a woman screaming just after midnight.

"She said the kids were inside and the dad was sitting on the steps. It was just very bad". "It's just something out of a horror movie that you just never would wish on anybody".

HRM Councillor Stephen Adams, who represents the area, said he was "sick" to hear about the fire.

"HRM Fire will continue to lead the investigation", he said.

The Barhos have been in Canada nearly two years, Imam Abdallah Yousri of the Ummah Mosque and Community Centre in Halifax said.

The family arrived in Canada on September 29, 2017 to much relieve from members of the HEART Society after two years of ups and downs.

The children ranged in ages from three months to 17 years.

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Yousri said the funerals would likely be held Wednesday or Thursday.

Jennifer Watts, CEO of the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, says staff from the organization's crisis team are working with the family.

Natalie Horne is a part of the refugee sponsorship group that brought Ebraheim and Kawthar Barho and their seven children from Syria to Nova Scotia.

"It's shocking and very sad".

Firefighters investigate following a house fire in the Spryfield community in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.

Police did not identify the victims but CBC News has reported that a Syrian family lived in the destroyed home.

"I think it's devastated everyone and the first reaction is disbelief and then the second is an outpouring of generosity", she said.

The neighbour says it took a long time to get through to 9-1-1 because apparently everyone was calling at the same time.

The woman said the fire spread very quickly as they watched.

"They are adorable kids, but we lost them today", Al-shanti said.

"I was nervous it was going to hit the house next door but it didn't". And then the fire crews finally got here, but there were flames shooting out the front of the house, like shooting out the windows.

But in general terms, he said: "New homes are built with light-weight construction".

"It's still early in the investigation at this stage", said Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. John MacLeod at the press conference.

He suggested firefighters were deeply affected by what they saw.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this hard time", the statement went on to say.

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