SEVEN children from a family who fled war-torn Syria have died after a horror fire engulfed their “sanctuary” home in Canada.
The local mosque in Halifax gave their names and ages as Abdullah, four months old; Rana, three; Hala, four; Ghala, eight; Mohammed, 10; Rola, 12; and Ahmed, 15.
Facebook/Ummah Masjid And Community Center The Ummah Mosque and Community Centre posted photos of the family on its Facebook page
Their parents – whose family name is Barho – remain in hospital, the father with life-threatening injuries. The mother was expected to survive her injuries.
In a brief interview from the hospital, Imam Abdallah Yousri of the Ummah mosque and community centre said the family was originally from the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
Danielle Burt, who lives next door to the family, said she heard a loud bang and a woman screaming just after 12.30 am local time onTuesday.
She ran out of the house with her four children and saw the neighbouring parents outside in a harrowing scene.
“The mother was on the grass, praying I guess, bowing her hands down, and pulling on my husband’s arm to call 911,” she said.
“She said the kids were inside and the dad was sitting on the steps. I think he had gone back in because he was really burnt. It was just awful.”
The family has been in Canada almost two years, Yousri said, and originally settled in Elmsdale, north of Halifax. He said the funerals would likely be held Wednesday.
“Words fail when children are taken from us too soon, especially in circumstances like this, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.
My heart goes out to the survivors of the horrible fire in Halifax this morning, and the loved ones who are mourning this tremendous loss.”
“Our entire municipality is heartbroken and our thoughts are with the loved ones of the family,” Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said in a tweet.
Police in Nova Scotia said the cause of the shocking fire is still under investigation.
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Halifax District Fire Chief Mike Blackburn said the fire was very heavy when they arrived, but firefighters were able to knock it down quickly.
He revealed firefighters were deeply affected by what they saw.
“They’ll process this over time but it’s very difficult and it’s not going to get any easier,” he said.
AP:Associated Press Firefighters investigate following a house fire in the Spryfield community in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Facebook/Ummah Masjid And Community Center The children were aged between four months and 15 years
Reuters Firefighters were reportedly deeply affected by the deadly blaze