UPDATED: New beginnings end in tragedy

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ELMSDALE: Seven children from a refugee family that had previously called Elmsdale home before moving into Halifax last summer have died as a result of a devastating fatal fire on Feb. 19.

The family was brought over to Canada through the Hants East Assisting Refugee Team (HEART) Society, HEART Society member and family friend Leno Ribahi told The Weekly Press. The family lived in Elmsdale, until they moved into Spryfield. The identities have not been confirmed by authorities.

As news broke, people were sending their condolences to the family and the community members and volunteers with the HEART Society who helped bring the family to Canada.

“It’s a sad day for our community,” one post read on a Facebook page.

At a press conference held hours after the tragic fire, police and fire investigators couldn’t answer much of the questioning from media.

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

Dave Meldrum with HRM Fire was asked if there is anything suspicious in nature of the early parts of the investigation.

“If it is suspicious we will get HRP involved,” said Meldrum. “If not, our fire investigators will continue the investigation.”

In the wee hours of the morning, fire officials responded to the house fire on Quartz Drive in Spryfield. Halifax Regional Police confirmed that there were seven deaths.

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.

The family had seven kids ranging from three-months-old to 17-years-old.

Halifax Regional Police confirmed all seven had died as a result of the fire. The house was completely destroyed by the fire, which bystanders told other media overtook the home quickly.

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

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

“It’s a horrible tragedy,” said Adams.

He confirmed the family was Syrian and had lived outside of HRM prior to moving into their home in Spryfield. He was not aware of anything being done to support the family or Syrian community at this time.

As Meldrum had said, Adams said supports are in place for the first responders who responded to the tragedy.

“We just need to know who needs the help, but we don’t expect that for some time,” he said.

Meldrum concluded the news conference at HRP headquarters saying they are in touch with the NS Fire Marshall.

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

We will be posting more updates as they become available.

MAIN PHOTO: The Barho family after their arrival on Sept. 29, 2017 to Canada. (Healey file photo)