Kate Winslet and her children were among VIP guests forced to flee Sir Richard Branson’s luxury Caribbean home after a night-time blaze ripped through the building. The multi-million-pound Great House on Necker, the Virgin tycoon’s £60million private island, was struck by lightning in the early hours of Monday when the region was battered by 90mph Hurricane Irene.

rip through: 裂开,破开;突进,横撞直闯

Flames quickly ravaged the wood and stone mansion forcing those inside, which included Miss Winslet and her two young children, to run for their lives in their pyjamas. According to Sir Richard, courageous Miss Winslet acted 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. Sir Richard, 61, was staying in another villa around 100 yards away with his wife Joan and son Sam and apparently ran naked towards the flames shortly after 4am. Sir Richard said: ‘Around 20 people were in the house and they all managed to get out and they are all fine.


‘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. ‘The main house is completely destroyed and the fire is not yet completely out. My office was based in the house and 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.’

take hold :生根,固定下来

Of Miss Winslet’s role, Sir Richard told ITV News: ‘It was she who carried my mother out of the house. She said it was like being on 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. ‘She carried my Mum out of the house. 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.’

surreal :超现实主义的

Miss Winslet, who won an Oscar for her role in the 2008 movie The Reader, has a daughter Mia, ten, from her first marriage to Jim Threapleton, and a son, Joe, seven, by second husband, director Sam Mendes, from whom she is separated. She is believed to be dating model Louis Dowler.