A Refugee Mother's Anguish After Fire: 'All 7 Are Dead?'

Ibrahim and Kawthar Barho lost all of their children in house fire; Ibrahim Barho is clinging to life
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2019 6:03 AM CST
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The children's father is said to have tried to save them, to no avail.   (Getty Images/gorodenkoff)

(Newser) – Friends say a family in Canada was set to move next week from the home they rented and head back to the district in Nova Scotia where they'd first landed as refugees from war-torn Raqqa, Syria, in 2017. Now the family of nine has been tragically reduced to two after a house fire in Halifax that killed all seven children and left their father critically injured, the New York Times reports. The fire broke out around 1am Tuesday, which is when a neighbor heard a "huge bang" and a woman's screams, per the CBC. "The house went up really quickly," says Danielle Burt, who notes her kids played with Ibrahim and Kawthar Barho's children. "It's just something out of a horror movie." Although Ibrahim Barho tried to rush back into the flames to save his kids, suffering major burns in the process, it was too late, Wael Haridy, a local imam, tells the Times.

Barho is now in critical condition; his wife escaped with just scratches, "but the big injury is in her heart," Haridy says. "She kept saying: 'I don't have any of my kids? Not even one or two? All seven are dead?'" Per a Facebook post by the family's mosque, the children who perished in the fire ranged in age from 4 months to 15 years. A GoFundMe for the couple has so far raised more than $220,000. "Words fail when children are taken from us too soon, especially in circumstances like this," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted Tuesday. A Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency official, who said at a presser that the cause of the fire is being looked into, added that the tragedy is the largest fire-linked cause of death in the city in some time, per the Times. A city councilor tells the CBC most homes in the area are no older than five years old. (An Ohio mom lost her five kids in a house fire late last year.)

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