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OTRC: Kate Winslet safe after vacation home catches on fire

Academy Award presenter Kate Winslet arrives at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA, on Sunday, March 7, 2010. (Matt Petit / A.M.P.A.S.)

Kate Winslet and her family are safe after a fire broke out early Monday morning at the vacation home on the Caribbean island the Academy Award-winning actress is staying at.

Winslet, her boyfriend Louis Dowler, and her two children -- Mia, 10, and Joe, 7 -- were forced to evacuate along with 16 guests from the eight-bedroom home on a private island owned by Virgin Group billionaire Richard Branson at the British Virgin Islands, reports the Associated press.

Branson was staying in another property around 100 yards away with his wife, Joan and son Sam, 25.

The fire reportedly broke out around 4 a.m. during a wind and lightning storm. Other guests included Bronson's 90-year-old mother and his daughter Holly, 29.

"Kate Winslet, her boyfriend and her family were there and Holly and some of her friends were also staying," Branson told the wire service. "My mother was there and they managed to get her out and she is fine."

"Many thanks to Kate Winslet for helping to carry my 90 year mum out of the main house to safety - she was wondering when a Director was going to shout CUT," Branson wrote on his personal blog.

Winslet's spokeswoman confirmed to the Associated Press that the actress was unharmed.

Branson said the house was "completely destroyed" and the fire was not entirely out Monday. The cause of the fire was still being investigated but lightning is seen as the likely cause. Branson, 60, bought the island in the early 1980s and began building the "Great House" in 1982.

The 35-year-old actress rose to fame with the 1997 film "Titanic" and won her first Oscar for her role in the 2008 movie "The Reader." Her two children are from marriages to directors Jim Threapleton and Sam Mendes. Winslet and Mendes separated in March 2010.

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