A community in Halifax is badly shaken after a house fire claimed the lives of seven children early Tuesday morning.

The Barho family moved to Canada in September 2017 originally finding a home in Elmsdale, N.S. The family just moved to their Halifax home last fall, with plans to return to Elmsdale one day.

Seven children ranging in age from infancy, to early teens, were pronounced dead at the scene. The father was transferred to hospital with life-threatening injuries, while the mother sustained only minor injuries.

Friends of the family say the father is still in hospital in critical condition. Ziad Alhasso, a family friend, spent the day at the hospital supporting the family. He last saw the family together on Sunday.

“Everybody’s sad and I am so sorry for Ebraheim and the family,” said Alhasso.

The Barhos came to Canada as refugees from Syria.

The group that sponsored them wrote this statement today which was written by Natalie Horne from the H.E.A.R.T. Society.

“Many people helped bring the Barho family to East Hants and get settled. For the past year-and-a-half, the children have been able to enjoy life as kids should be able to: going to school, riding bicycles, swimming, having friends, running in the yard, celebrating birthday parties and hanging out with their neighbours on their porch swing. They loved every minute of it, and it seems impossible we won’t hear their laughter and feel their hugs again.”

That group, and the community, are coming together to help the family.

“I would like to be able to try to help this family through this matter,” said Loai Al Rifai, the Nova Scotian Syrian Society co-founder. “She needs help right now and from all the people around us, from Canadians, Syrians, all the people here.”

Brendan Maguire is the MLA for the area. He has met the family on several occasions at public events and says the community will do whatever it takes to help out.

“I think it was the first time I didn’t know what to say or do. I still don’t know what to say, or really do,” said Maguire. “It doesn’t matter if you’re here one day or if you’re here for a hundred years. You’re Nova Scotian, and this community will pull together like we’ve done in the past, and we’ll do what we need to do.”

The family has requested donations be made to the HEART Society.

A GoFundMe page has also been created to help support the family.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.