Tragic Fire in Halifax


Pray for Syrian refugee family

Last Tuesday at roughly one in the morning, firefighters were called to the scene of one of the deadliest house fires Halifax has ever had.

The fire claimed the lives of seven children, who have been identified as: Abdullah, Rana, Hala, Ola, Mohamad, Rola, and Ahmed Barho. Their ages range from three months to 14 years.

The family had moved to the Spryfield area in October. Prior to that, the family had arrived in Canada as refugees only in September 2017.

The mother and father of the children survived the event, though not unscathed. Ebraheim and Kawthar were taken to the hospital during the night. Kawthar’s injuries are non-life-threatening, but Ebraheim, who went back into the blaze in an attempt to save his children, is in critical condition.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. Damage to the home is extensive, but especially prominent in the back and upper floor. According to Spryfield area city councilor, Steve Adams, most of the homes in the area were built between two and five years ago.

With Ebraheim in the hospital, Kawthar is without any family to turn to. Among the many pressuring the federal government to bring Barho’s family members to Nova Scotia is Halifax MP Andy Fillmore.

On Wednesday, a vigil was held for the family in Halifax’s main square. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a pre-planned party event which brought him to the Halifax area, and was able to stand among the hundreds who arrived to pay their respects. The prime minister did not speak at the vigil but stated that he was encouraged “to see so many people come out to share their love, to share their support for this family that most of them didn’t know and to say, ‘We’re there for you.’”

In an act of charity, a fundraiser was established for the Barho family through GoFundMe. The original goal of which was $300 000. It surpassed $398 000 within one day.

The Barho family had reportedly moved from Elmsdale to the Halifax suburb to take advantage of language training and immigration services in the area. A spokesperson from the Hants East Assisting Refugee Team Society, the group that sponsored the Barho family, said the family was planning to move back to Elmsdale next month.

Burials have not yet been planned for the children, as Kawthar and family friends await the release of bodies from the medical examiner.