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Kate Winslet Saves Richard Branson's Mom from Private Island Fire

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 23, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Maybe "firefighter" can be a viable alternative career for Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet. A fire ravaged the island home of Virgin Group's chairman and founder, Richard Branson. The fire, however, was not enough to stop Winslet's heroic efforts.

Winslet, her boyfriend and her two children, and 16 other guests were staying at Branson's home in the British Virgin Islands when flames broke out early Monday morning.

Branson's 90-year-old mother, Eve, was at the property when the fire started. That's when Winslet sprang into action. She swept up Branson's mother into her arms and carried her out of the burning mansion.

Everybody who was staying at the mansion escaped the blaze unharmed, reports the AP.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. However, lightning is a likely culprit, the AP reports.

Winslet's actions were heroic. Especially because she would have no specific legal duty to rescue anybody if the fire occurred on American soil.

Most of the time, a person has no duty to rescue another person from peril. This is true even in the most extreme situations. A champion swimmer could be watching someone drown in a lake right in front of them and they usually wouldn't have to lift a finger.

But, there are some legal duties that require a person to rescue. One would be if the person created the danger. For example, if the champion swimmer pushed the person into the lake, they've probably earned themselves a duty to rescue the person from drowning.

So, maybe we should really applaud Kate Winslet. A fire rescue is no easy task. And, the first instinct many of us would have when facing danger might be to rescue our own skins first. But what about Richard Branson? A fire may have destroyed the mansion, but that hasn't stopped the billionaire. Branson plans to rebuild the house.

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