Top News

2019 was a tragic year for deaths in Atlantic Canada, says Red Cross


A memorial of stuff bears remains as the only sign of a tragic fire in which the seven Barho children perished Feb. 19. The home at Quartz Drive in Spryfield was demolished down to the foundation in March. - Eric Wynne / File
A memorial of stuff bears is shown at the scene of a tragic fire in which seven children of a Syrian family perished Feb. 19, 2019. The home at Quartz Drive in Spryfield, N.S. was demolished down to the foundation in March. - Eric Wynne/File

The number seven was tragically prominent in 2019 in the Atlantic provinces for two categories of preventable deaths tracked by the Canadian Red Cross for research purposes.

Across the four provinces, at least 24 people died in residential fires in 2019. The single largest tragedy involved the deaths of all seven children of a family of nine recent immigrants from Syria in a house fire in Halifax in late February. 

They were among at least 12 fire-related deaths in Nova Scotia throughout the year. New Brunswick had at least eight such fatalities, with two each in both Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.  

The Atlantic region also saw at least 34 unintended water-related fatalities in 2019. The single largest tragedy was the loss of all seven men aboard a float plane that crashed and sank in a lake in mid-July while en route to a fishing lodge in northern Labrador. All those on board died, including the pilot from Quebec, two fishing guides from Labrador and four recreational fishers from the U.S.

The seven were among at least 15 water-related deaths in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2019. Nova Scotia had at least 14 such deaths, with four in Prince Edward Island and one in New Brunswick. The Red Cross describes the fatalities as unintentional because it excludes cases where the death is confirmed or likely to have been a result of suicide.

Facts, figures and tips for safety on or near water are available online at redcross.ca/watersafety. Local fire departments, provincial fire marshal offices and organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association (nfpa.org) offer fact sheets, tips and planning tools for all ages to prevent residential fires.


RELATED: 

Recent Stories