|Sir Richard Branson|
A fire started as a result of Hurricane Irene that is churning in the gulf and heading toward Florida and the east coast of the United States.
The mansion was considered a total loss and no injuries were reported.
Authorities said a lightning strike sparked the blaze that burned the mansion to the ground and that there were 20 guests, including his mother, in the house and on the property at the time.
In a dramatic twist that could only be created in Hollywood, actress Kate Winslet was visiting the property with her two children when the fire erupted, and she single handedly saved Branson’s 90-year-old mother from certain death by carrying her to safety.
Branson told reporters,
“We had a really bad tropical storm with winds up to 90mph. A big lightning storm came around 4am and hit one of the main houses. The fire took hold incredibly quickly, with flames 100 feet high. It ripped through the house very quickly. It was Kate who carried my mother to safety. My Mom is 90 years-old and Kate swept her up in her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible.”
Sir Richard purchased the island, called Necker Island, in 1979 for about $250,000 and then spent tens of millions of dollars building fantastic mansions, pools, spas, and VIP areas for his friends and family.
The island and structures are used throughout the year by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and business tycoons and rents for $35,000 per day.
Branson has vowed to rebuild saying,
“We want to rebuild the house as soon as we can. We have a wonderful staff here and we want them to stay and work. We’ll all stay here for the time being. There’s a lot of damage and we won’t be able to put it back together again right away. It was a beautiful house.”
Until the main VIP house is rebuilt guests will have to find comfort in one of the other six mansions scattered around the island.
|Sir Richard Branson's Mansion on Necker Island|
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