Historic Fla. Tree Catches Fire, Collapses

LONGWOOD (CBSMiami) – One of the oldest trees in the world, located in Central Florida, caught fire Monday morning and collapsed.

Firefighters arrived at Big Tree Park in Longwood around 5:50 a.m. and pulled more than 800 feet of hose through the woods to the fire, according the Orlando Sentinel.

The 118 foot tall bald cypress tree, named the Senator, was the oldest cypress tree in the world, and the 5th oldest tree in the world.

It’s not known what caused the tree to catch fire but officials told the Sentinel the tree actually burned for several hours from the inside out, like a chimney.

The tree collapsed a little more than two hours after firefighters arrived.

The Senator was about 3,500 years old.

In 1925, a hurricane destroyed the top of the tree, which reduced its original height of 165 feet to 119 feet.

The Senator was named for Senator M.O. Overstreet, who donated the tree and surrounding land to Seminole County for a park in 1927.

Fire officials still don’t know how the fire started.

Investigators are checking with the weather service to see if there was any lightening in the area. They have not ruled out arson.


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