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Two years after tragic fire that killed members of the Barho family, a community continues to heal

Click to play video: 'Halifax firefighter speaks about Barho family fire for the first time'
Halifax firefighter speaks about Barho family fire for the first time
WATCH: A firefighter who responded to the tragic Spryfield house fire that killed seven children says he’s both proud of what firefighters tried to do, and still troubled by the outcome. – Feb 19, 2020

Friday marks the second anniversary of the day a fire swept through a Spryfield home and killed seven children — reducing a family of nine to two.

The Barho family had come to Nova Scotia as refugees from Syria in 2017, hoping to create a new life in Canada.  Instead, they suffered a tragedy.

Ebraheim and Kawthar Barho managed to escape the blaze at the home on Quartz Drive, but Ahmad, 14; Rola, 12; Mohamad, 9; Ola, 8; Hala, 3; Rana, 2, and four-month-old Abdullah did not.

The cause of the blaze was eventually ruled to be undetermined.

The tragedy drew international attention and caused an outpouring of grief from across the country.

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Thousands attended the funeral service for the seven children.

But even two years later, the community that formed around the Barho family in the wake of the fire continues to grieve and work together to pick up the pieces.

Although the house on Quartz Drive has since been demolished a memorial for the family has been placed in the Halifax Common.

A maple tree has been planted and a granite stone is etched with the names of all seven children in English and Arabic.

Click to play video: 'Barho fire anniversary'
Barho fire anniversary

The path towards healing has been especially difficult for Ebraheim, the father of the family.

In an effort to save his children that night in 2018 Ebraheim suffered severe burns to 80 per cent of his body.

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He was initially placed in a medically-induced coma and underwent numerous surgeries.

He was only discharged from the hospital this past summer and now lives at home where he continues his long recovery, the Hants East Assisting Refugees Team (HEART) said in a Facebook post on Friday.

HEART helped take the family in when they arrived in 2017 and has continued to support the family throughout the aftermath of the fire.

The HEART Society did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We continue to grieve the loss of the seven beautiful Barho children and thank everyone for their continued concern (and) support,” the post reads.

“Ebraheim and Kawthar would like to thank all of the people who continue to keep them in their thoughts and prayers two years after the tragic fire that took the lives of their seven children.”

The fire has had long-ranging impacts on those who responded to the blaze.

“This is a fairly significant event that has not occurred and hopefully will not ever occur again any time soon,” said Deputy Chief Peter Andrews of Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services on Friday.

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He confirmed that all of the firefighters that responded that evening are back on duty and continue to work.

Andrew said the blaze will continue to be an important part of the force’s history.

Ironically, the same duty platoon that responded to the fire two years ago is on duty Friday. They chose not to commemorate the anniversary but Andrews said the force is making sure to reach out and check in with all of its members.

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