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Kate Winslet escapes fire caused by Hurricane Irene at Richard Branson's house

22

August

rsz_tbd-katewinslet082311.jpgHurricane Irene may be swinging northward away from Florida, but Kate Winslet suffered a harrowing vaction as she narrowly escaped a fire caused by the storm before it destroyed Richard Branson's home in the British Virgin Islands early Monday morning. Indeed, that's not what we'd call relaxing.

Branson said about 20 people, including Winslet and her kids, were guests at the home on Necker, the Virgin Group honcho's private island in the chain, when the fire broke out around 4 a.m. in the so-called Great House, likely after a lightning strike. Branson and his wife Joan and son Sam were in another property about 100 yards away, the AP reports. His daughter Holly and 90-year-old mother were in the house, but everyone fled to safety.

"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."

The house was destroyed, but Branson said the worst damage was losing thousands of photographs. He already said he'd rebuild eventually. What else would you do on an island you own?

[Photo: Getty Images]

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[Last modified: Monday, August 22, 2011 4:12pm]

    

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