Oscar Winner Among Those Fleeing to Safety as Fire Destroys Richard Branson’s Island Mansion

Aug 22, 2011  •  Post A Comment

About 20 people, including an Oscar-winning actress, fled to safety as an overnight fire destroyed an eight-bedroom house on billionaire Richard Branson’s private island, the L.A. Times reports in the Ministry of Gossip blog.

Actress Kate Winslet, an Academy Award winner in 2009 for “The Reader,” and her children were among those escaping the fire in the building known as the Great House. Winslet was vacationing with her two children and her boyfriend on Branson’s Necker Island.

Branson, who was staying nearby with his wife and son, Sam, 25, attributed the fire to lightning.

In a statement today, Branson said: "We had a really bad tropical storm with winds up to 90 miles per hour. A big lightning storm came around 4 a.m. and hit the house. My son Sam rushed to the house and helped get everyone out.”

Necker Island was featured in a TLC special on the wedding of Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo, which took place on the island.

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