LONDON (AFP) - Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet and members of Richard Bransons family escaped unharmed Monday when a lightning storm hit the Virgin tycoons Caribbean island home, which was destroyed in a blaze. Winslet carried Bransons 90-year-old mother Eve out of The Great House on Necker Island as the flames took hold in the early hours of the morning. She (Winslet) was staying there with her children and in fact it was she who carried my mother out of the house, Branson told Britains ITV News. She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible. Winslet said its like being in a film set where youre waiting for the words 'cut but they just dont come, the entrepreneur added. Bransons 29-year-old daughter Holly was also forced to flee the flames. The 60-year-old founder of the Virgin empire had been staying in another property nearby with his wife Joan and son Sam, when the lightning struck the main house. Tropical storm Irene is currently tearing across the Caribbean and was expected to dump an additional five to 10 centimetres (two to four inches) of rain on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday. On his blog, Branson said: We had a really bad tropical storm with winds up to 90 miles (145 kilometres) per hour. A big lightning storm came around 4:00 am and hit the house. My son Sam rushed to the house and helped get everyone out. Kate Winslet, her boyfriend and her family were there and Holly and some of her friends were also staying. 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 which is very sad. We want to rebuild the house as soon as we can. We have a wonderful staff here and we want them to stay in work. Well all stay here for the time being. Theres a lot of damage and we wont be able to stick it back together again right away. It was a beautiful house. Branson bought the island in the early 1980s. It is part of the British Virgin Islands. Each bedroom in the house has its own balcony, king-size bed and en-suite bathroom. Set on the top of Devils Hill, this beautiful house is the heart of the island, Neckers website says. The jewel in the crown is the master suite which has its own jacuzzi and private terrace with panoramic views over the ocean and neighbouring islands.