Academy Award winning actress Kate Winslet, her two children and her boyfriend, Louis Dowler, are counting their blessings today. The actress and her family were lucky to escape a devastating fire that demolished the mansion of billionaire Sir Richard Branson early this morning.

Kate Winslet, her children, 10 year-old Mia and 7-year old Joe, and boyfriend were all guests at Sir Richard Branson’s private island in the British Virgin Islands. Branson said in a press statement that about 20 people were staying in his eight bedroom ‘Great House’ when fire broke out around 4AM during a thunderstorm.

“Kate Winslet, her boyfriend and her family were there and Holly [Branson’s daughter] 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.” None of the guests were injured.

Branson said he and his wife and son were staying in another house about 100 yards away. His son, 25-year-old Sam Branson, reportedly helped to evacuate the guests from the Great House when the fire started. Apparently, Kate Winslet also assisted in the rescue. Branson posted to his blog: “many thanks to the Titanic actress for helping to carry my 90 year mum out of  the main house to safety wondering when a Director was going to shout CUT!”

The house was “completely destroyed” according to Branson, who said he was “very sad” at losing “thousands of photographs.” A spokesperson for Branson’s company, Virgin Limited Edition, said the fire was “most likely due to a lightning strike.”

“It’s very much the Dunkirk Spirit here. We want to rebuild the house as soon as we can,” Branson said. “We have a wonderful staff here and we want them to stay in work.”



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