Woman who died in Bedok North flat fire was an actress and producer who battled cancer

Ms Aileen Chan was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived at her fourth-floor flat.
PHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao, The Straits Times reader

SINGAPORE - 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 (May 13).

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 that day, after a fire broke out which led to 60 residents in the neighbouring units being evacuated.

Another two people who were renting a room in the apartment — 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 Saturday (May 14) 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 Straits Times that Ms Chan was kind, helpful and funny.

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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.

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

Ms Lee declined to comment.

At her wake in Hougang on Saturday night, Ms Chan's 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 Ms Chan's wake.

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

"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.

UPDATE: Three people died in a fire that broke out in the living room of a flat in Block 409 Bedok North on early Friday...

Posted by AsiaOne on Thursday, May 12, 2022

He said the Kampong Chai Chee community of grassroots leaders, volunteers and agencies stand ready to offer help. Many residents he spoke with had also sent their condolences and stated 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 told ST that painters would be repainting the darkened walls.

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

Residents said water supply has not been affected and that the electrical supply that was 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 wheelchair-bound woman 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.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.