Woman Charged In Burning Of 3,500-Year-Old Fla. Tree

LONGWOOD (CBSMiami) – A central Florida woman has been charged with setting fire to one of the oldest trees in the world.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, investigators charged Sara Barnes, 26, with causing the fire that led to the collapse of the 119-foot-tall bald cypress tree named “The Senator” on Jan. 16th.

The Sentinel reports Barnes told authorities she did it because she needed light to see the drugs she was doing.

In addition, Barnes took photos of the fire with her cell phone. The Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement searched Barnes’ Winter Park home Tuesday and confiscated her cell phone and lap top. Authorities also reported finding methamphetamine, scales and drug paraphernalia.

Barnes is being held in the Seminole County Jail.

The Senator, which stood at Big Tree Park north of Longwood, 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.




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