Guests

Guests watch as Sir Richard Branson's Great House on Necker Island caught fire

In her most dramatic role yet Titanic actress Kate Winslet , helped carry Sir Richard Branson's 90-year-old mother to safety when a fire broke out at the British business magnate's multimillion pound luxury Caribbean retreat.

Kate Winslet, her two children and her boyfriend were among 20 guests, who were staying at the iconic Great House on Necker, the Virgin tycoon's £60 million private island in the British Virgin Islands.

The actress and other VIP guests, including Sir Richard's daughter, Holly, and his mother, Eve, were forced to flee Sir Richard's luxurious Great House, after a fire consumed the building in the early hours of Monday. The fire ignited when Hurricane Irene roared in and a lightning strike apparently caused an inferno at the private island's largest house.

Kate

Kate Winslet, her two children and her boyfriend were among the 20 guests at the Great house

Sir Richard, 61, was staying in another villa around 100 yards away with his wife Joan and son Sam, 25. Sam bravely rushed inside to help the guests out. Fortunately everyone managed to escape and there were no injuries.

We had a really bad tropical storm with winds up to 90mph. A big lightning storm came around 4am and hit the house. It took hold incredibly quickly, with flames 100ft high. It ripped through the house very quickly. Sam heard explosions in the main house and raised the alarm. He and my nephew Jack rushed to the house and helped get everyone out, said Sir Richard.

Speaking of Kate Winslet's heroic act, Sir Richard said that the actress behaved like a true Hollywood heroine as she swept his 90-year-old mother, Eve, into her arms and helped carry her to safety as the mansion crumbled around them, reports the Daily Mail.

Many thanks to Kate Winslet for helping to carry my 90 year mum out of the main house to safety - she (Kate Winslet) was wondering when a Director was going to shout CUT! posted Sir Richard on his Virgin blog site.

(Left)

Reuters
(Left) Oscar winning actress Kate Winslet. (Right) Sir Richard Branson with his mother Eve.

Holly Branson was expected to marry her fiancé Fred Andrews in the eight bedroom Great House later this year.

Even though Sir Richard was saddened at the loss of thousands of photographs and note books, which was kept in an office based in the house, he was glad that his family and friends are well.

The billionaire plans to rebuild the property.

It's very much the Dunkirk spirit here. We will rebuild the house as soon as we can. 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, wrote Sir Richard on his blog.

Sir Richard bought Necker Island for £180,000 in 1979. It was uninhabited when he purchased it. It took three years and approximately U.S. $10 million to turn it into a private island retreat. Over the years the island has attracted an A-list crowd, including Princess Diana, Janet Jackson, Harrison Ford and Oprah Winfrey to name a few.

The island is rented out in its entirety and can accommodate up to 28 people in the main house and six Balinese villas scattered over the grounds for £34,000 a night all inclusive.

Sir Richard began building the Great House in 1982 in Balinese-style. It is situated on the crown of a hill, overlooking one of the island's most beautiful beaches.

The building, now ruined, was filled with Brazilian hardwoods, antiques, art pieces, hand-made fabrics and bamboo furniture.

Watch the video here.