EastEnders and On The Buses star Anna Karen dies in house fire

Anna Karen

On The Buses and EastEnders star Anna Karen has died in a house fire in London.

Firefighters arrived at the fire on Windsor Road in Ilford at 10.30pm on Tuesday and said they got the blaze in the terraced house under control in less than an hour.

It is not know what caused the fire.

The 85-year-old was best known for her role in 70s comedy On The Buses, but also appeared in EastEnders as Aunt Sal - the sister of Peggy Mitchell.

Anna Karen on the far right with Stephen Lewis, Doris Hare, Bob Grant from On the Buses. Credit: PA

Singer Cheryl Baker led tributes to Ms Karen on Twitter, saying: "I have just heard the awful news that my fabulous mate, Anna Karen has died in a house fire.

"What a horrific way to die, I can’t bear to think about it.

"I adored her - She was an absolute treasure, both on and off the screen."

EastEnders actress Rita Simons said: "I just heard the awful news about the wonderful Anna Karen. Horrific and awful and so so sad. She was one of the best.

"Sleep well lovely Anna. Sending all my love to her family and friends."

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: "Sadly, a woman has died following a house fire on Windsor Road in Ilford.

"Part of the ground floor of a mid-terrace house was damaged by fire. Sadly a woman was pronounced dead at the scene...

"The Brigade was called at 2240 and the fire was under control by 2338. 

"The cause of the fire is under investigation."

A spokesperson for EastEnders said they team was "deeply saddened to hear that Anna Karen has passed away.

"Anna created a sharp, quick witted and extremely popular character in Aunt Sal that the audience will never forget, just as those who worked with her at EastEnders will never forget her warmth, kindness fun and good humour.

"Our love and thoughts are with Anna’s family and friends.”

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