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Kate Winslet

Rescues Richard Branson's Mom

As His House BURNS DOWN

8/22/2011 11:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

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Mogul Richard Branson had his home on a private island in the Caribbean burn to the ground this morning, and his 90-year-old mother might have died in the blaze ... if not for the help of Kate Winslet.

Branson recanted the harrowing tale on his blog this morning, saying that 20 people were inside the home at the time of the fire ... but they all managed to get out fine. He said the main house -- on Necker Island -- was completely destroyed.

Branson cited a tropical storm as the cause, saying a lightning storm hit the house around 4:00 AM.

As for the dramatic rescue of his elderly mother, Branson wrote, "... many thanks to Kate Winslet for helping to carry my 90 year mum out of the main house to safety wondering when a Director was going to shout CUT!"

Wonder who'll play Kate when Branson sells the movie rights?

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