Singapore heroine of Hong Kong guest house fire back in Singapore; still in coma

Singapore dancer Tiara Zhang Zhi Zhen, who was critically injured in a guest house fire in Hong Kong in December, is back home in Singapore.

The 33-year-old's condition "stabilised" enough for doctors in Hong Kong to give the green-light for her to travel home on Wednesday morning, said a person familiar with the situation.

But she remains in a coma, and is now warded at the Singapore General Hospital.

It has been nearly two months since she lapsed into unconsciousness, following an early morning fire at a hostel in North Point where she and friends were staying during a Christmas holiday in Hong Kong.

While Ms Zhang was one of the first to wake up from the heat, she stayed on in the smoke-filled apartment, helping others escape. In the process, she inhaled too much smoke, and the oxygen flow to her brain was cut off.

"We hope that at least while at home, she will be surrounded by family and friends," said the source.

The Soka Association is also likely to provide solace and support to her family, who is Buddhist.

Ms Zhang works as an account director at events marketing agency George P. Johnson, and is also a dancer who represented Singapore in ballroom dance competitions.

Her father is retired and her mother is a housewife. She has a brother who is an engineer.

On her flight home, she was accompanied by her mother and a cousin, as well as one of her friends from junior college who had made it out of the guest house safely.

Last month, the Hong Kong police said that they are searching for a man they believe was behind the fire.

Surveillance footage showed a man holding what looks like a bottle of liquid in the vicinity of the guest house at the Continental Mansion in North Point at 7.17am - just six minutes before the fire started on Dec 29.

A police statement said investigations show the fire appeared to have been started under "suspicious circumstances". The case was reclassified as arson.

The fire had also cast a spotlight on Hong Kong's licensing of guest houses in residential buildings.

xueying@sph.com.sg

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