HALIFAX -- Just over a month ago, Harold Delaney was living a nightmare.

He lost his home in a fire, escaping while carrying little more than a photo of his late wife.

On the morning of Halloween, Harold Delaney says he started a fire in the wood stove in his shed before heading inside his home for breakfast.

Not long after, he noticed more smoke than usual.

“So I ran outside, opened the door to go in and the flames met me,” he said in a Nov. 6 interview with CTV News.

Before he knew it, the home he had lived in since 1973 had burned down.

"I’m all alone now," he said. "Just the kids, they’re all married."

When fire crews arrived, he realized there was something inside he forgot: a picture of his late wife Norma. She died just over a year earlier.

He says firefighters tried to stop him, but he ran in anyway and grabbed it – luckily, making it out safely.

"They tried to stop me but I wanted that picture," he said. "I wanted it of my wife. So I went in to get that." 


Since then, things have started to look up for Delaney. He’s been the recipient of an overwhelming amount of kindness. 

A family friend started a GoFundMe page, and to say it took off is an understatement.

People poured in over $40,000 to help.

"I don’t know how to thank them anymore," he says. "But thank you. From the bottom of my heart."

"I just feel…warm, you know?" says Delaney. "Like somebody got their arms around me hugging me."

Ardon Mofford, the friend who started the fundraiser, says the amount of money it raised has given him a new hope.

"Originally, our goal was like five or ten thousand dollars," he says. "Just for him to replace some of his goods."

Mofford says his Christmas wish is for Delaney to get into a new trailer in the same place. He hopes the wish will come true in the New Year.

Delaney shares the wish, and says he’s already started shopping around for homes.

Since the fire, he’s been living with family, and that’s how he’ll spend the holidays.

In the meantime: "I just hope everybody has a wonderful, wonderful Christmas, and a happy New Year," he says.

Delaney says he knows it’s been a rough year for so many, and he hopes others can simply end 2020 on a high note like his.

"Because I would not have the Christmas I’m having," he says. "And feeling so happy as I am, without all the generosity of the people."

Another one of Delaney’s wishes: "I just hope someday I can repay everything that was done for me."