Kate Winslet Rescues Richard Branson's Mother in Fire on Caribbean Island

Kate Winslet escapes house fire and rescues Branson's mother.

ByABC News
August 22, 2011, 5:32 PM

Aug. 22, 2011— -- Kate Winslet's character in "Titanic" barely survived an iceberg, and now the Oscar-winning actress has successfully acted the hero in a fire that ravaged Virgin Group mogul Richard Branson's private island residence in the British Virgin Islands.

Branson credited Winslet with saving his 90-year old mother, Eve, from the house fire.

"My mum is 90 and can walk, but it was more just to speed the process up than anything else. But anyway, she was great. She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible," Branson told The Telegraph.

"Talking to her, she said it's like being in a film set where you're waiting for the words 'cut' but they just don't come. So it was quite surreal for her to be in a real-life situation."

Winslet, 35, was among the 20 guests who was staying in Branson's fourteen-bedroom "Great House" on the exclusive resort when the fire broke out around 4:00am.

She had been staying at the luxury compound with her daughter Mia, 10, and son Joe, 7, as personal guests of Branson's, Ericka Souter, a staff writer at US Weekly, told ABCNews.com.

Lightning Strike?

Each of the 20 houseguests staying at the complex were able to leave the burning house in safety, Branson said.

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is believed to have been caused by a lightning storm due to Hurricane Irene, with winds of about 80 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Branson was staying with his wife, Joan and son, Sam, in one of the five smaller Balinese-style villas that dot the island when the fire broke out.

"I have lost thousands of photographs and my notebooks, which is very sad. But all family and friends are well -- which, in the end, is all that really matters," wrote the tycoon in a blog post on his website.

Branson said he intends to stay on the island and rebuild the house as soon as possible. " We have a wonderful staff here and we want them to stay in work. We'll all stay here. There's a lot of damage but we'll create something even more special out of the ruins," he wrote.