Published August 22, 2011
Actress Kate Winslet reportedly carried Richard Branson’s 90-year-old mother to safety after a raging fire destroyed the founder Virgin Group's Caribbean home in the middle of the night.
"She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible,” Branson said in an interview with Britain’s ITV News.
Branson said about 20 people, including Winslet and her children, were staying in the eight-bedroom Great House on Necker, his private isle in the British Virgin Islands.
Branson said he was staying in another property around 100 yards away with his wife, Joan and son Sam, 25.
He said the fire broke out around 4 a.m. during a wind and lightning storm, and Sam managed to help evacuate Winslet and other guests from the house.
Branson said the guests, including his 90-year-old mother and his daughter Holly, 29, all managed to get out safely.
"Kate Winslet, her boyfriend and her family were there and Holly and some of her friends were also staying," Branson said. "My mother was there and they managed to get her out and she is fine."
Winslet's spokeswoman, Sara Keene, confirmed the actress was unharmed.
Branson said the house was "completely destroyed" and the fire was not entirely out Monday.
"My office was based in the house and I have lost thousands of photographs which is very sad," Branson said.
He said he planned to rebuild the house "as soon as we can."