She may not be the first person who pops in your head when you think of someone rescuing an elderly woman from a burning building, but Kate Winslet, 35, has just moved up on everyone's list of unlikely heroes.

The Oscar-winning actress was staying at billionaire Richard Branson's $70 million vacation home on Necker Island in the Caribbean on Monday when the house was struck by lightning generated by Hurricane Irene in the middle of the night.

The fire broke out around 4:00 a.m. "I was woken up with people screaming," Branson said, reports CBS News. "I was in the house right next door … and looked over, saw the whole house engulfed in flames, and just ran stark naked to the house to try to get people out." There were 20 guests staying there at the time, including Branson's 90-year-old mother and Winslet and her two children, Mia, 10, and Joe, 7. When everyone started evacuating the house, Winslet sprang into action.

"My mum is 90 and can walk," the Virgin Group mogul told the UK's Telegraph. "But it was more just to speed the process up than anything else. But anyway, she was great," he said of Winslet. "She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible."

The sprawling mansion is one of the most famous vacation spots in the world, and is often used by celebs for weddings and other celebrations. Last month, newlyweds Nick Lachey and Vanessa Mannillo held their wedding at the breathtaking tropical location, and Branson's own daughter, Holly, has been planning to declare her vows there this winter. Branson is hopeful that they can get most of the rebuilding done in time for the event. "There's a lot of damage but we'll create something even more special out ofthe ruins," Branson wrote on his website.

Watch the following clip from ABC News here:

Read more about:

Leave a comment