Bedok North fire

Woman who died in flat was actress-producer battling cancer

The 56-year-old is survived by her partner and her sister

The woman who died in the Bedok North flat which went up in flames was Ms Aileen Chan, a 56-year-old film producer and actress who had fought cancer until she died in the tragedy on Friday.

She is survived by her partner Ithnin, or Isaac, according to a notice for her wake, as well as her sister, Ms Iris Chan.

Ms Aileen Chan was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived at her fourth-floor flat at about 6.40am on Friday, after a fire led to 60 residents in neighbouring units being evacuated.

Another two people who were renting a room in the flat - a 35-year-old man and a three-year-old toddler - later died in hospital.

The 34-year-old mother of the child remains in critical condition as at last night.

In a Facebook post, lawyer Michael Chia, a friend of Ms Chan, said he had met her during his brief foray into acting with local short film group Reel Frenz some years ago.

"There'll be no more pain, no more sickness and no more sadness," he wrote. "I learnt from you. You were kind and fun to be with. You fought with cancer bravely but you went in an unexpected way."

He later told The Sunday Times that Ms Chan was kind, helpful and funny.

According to Ms Chan's page on movie database IMDb, she was involved in the 2016 local film Certified Dead, directed by Ms Marrie Lee - better known for her role as Cleopatra Wong - who made waves on the international movie scene.

Ms Chan also contributed to local shorts Rene (2014) and Rojak (2013).

Ms Lee declined to comment.

At Ms Chan's wake in Hougang last night, her sister Iris requested space and time for the family to grieve.

Mr Tan Kiat How, Minister of State for Communications and Information and for National Development, and an MP for East Coast GRC, paid his respects at the wake.

He said Ms Chan's cousin Pearl lived in the unit next to Ms Chan's.

"Iris and Pearl shared with me the many tough challenges that Aileen had overcome, and yet she maintained a positive and bubbly outlook towards life. She was an amazing lady. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends," he said in a Facebook post.

He said the Kampong Chai Chee community of grassroots leaders, volunteers and agencies stands ready to offer help.

Many residents he spoke with had also sent their condolences and expressed their willingness to come to the family's aid, he said.

Separately, the East Coast Town Council continued to clean up the corridors and common areas of the affected block.

Town council cleaners were seen washing the soot off the corridors between levels three and six, and said that painters would be repainting the darkened walls.

At about 3pm, workers from SP Power were seen checking the gas pipes outside the burnt unit. The gas supply has been switched off for some units in the block.

Residents said that the water supply has not been affected and that the electrical supply cut off by the fire was restored on Friday night.

Those who were in the block when the fire happened had said they were woken up at about 6.30am by shouts of "Fire!".

A 67-year-old woman who is a wheelchair user was carried to safety by a man during the emergency, and many residents still in their pyjamas could be seen comforting one another.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 15, 2022, with the headline Woman who died in flat was actress-producer battling cancer. Subscribe