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Caribbean: Celebs Safe after Lightning Fire on Necker Island

The main residence on Sir Richard Branson’s $54,000+ per night hideaway, Necker Island, suffered a freak fire when lightning struck the building, which was being used at the time by his family and actress Kate Winslet.

(Image Courtesy of VPI)

It was far from an idyllic private island holiday for 20 guests on Necker Island this week, including Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet and her young children. In the early morning hours of August 22nd, a fire broke out in Necker’s luxurious great house, thought to have been caused by a lightning strike resulting from Hurricane Irene, which at the time had knocked out electricity and necessitated evacuations in various other areas of the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. In the BVI, a dramatic electrical storm with 90 mile-an-hour winds passed through the country, and South Florida is thought by meteorologists to be next on Irene’s path.

Thanks to the quick thinking of the island’s staff and Sir Richard’s courageous son Sam, who ran to help the guests out of the blazing building, all members of the party are safe and sound.  Richard Branson and his wife and children were staying in a separate property 100 yards from the main building when the fire broke out, although his mother was in the main residence.

(Image Courtesy of VPI)

According to a Virgin spokesperson as reported in the Daily Mail newspaper, “While the cause at this stage is unknown, it is thought most likely due to a lightning strike. While substantial damage was caused to the building, no guests or members of the Necker Island staff were hurt. They are all safe and currently being accommodated elsewhere on the island.”

Sir Richard also told the Mail that the main house was completely destroyed, and that as of the evening of that day, the fire still hadn’t been completely extinguished. The house was not only the gorgeous showpiece of the island filled with antiques collected from across the globe, but the location of his office, where he had kept thousands of documents and photographs, now all lost to ashes. He does, according to the article, intend to clear out the rubble and create a new residence as soon as possible; “’It’s very much the Dunkirk spirit here. We want to rebuild the house as soon as we can.”

Read the interview in the Daily Mail: Link

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