Historic tree catches fire in central Florida park

The 118-foot-tall bald cypress tree named "The Senator" burned early Monday


The Associated Press

LONGWOOD, Fla. — Firefighters say one of the world's oldest cypress trees caught fire and collapsed in central Florida.

The 118-foot-tall bald cypress tree named "The Senator" burned early Monday. Mike Martin of the state Division of Forestry tells the Orlando Sentinel that arson may be to blame.

Seminole County Fire Rescue spokesman Steve Wright says the tree burned for several hours.

Firefighters arrived around 5:50 a.m. and pulled more than 800 feet of hose through the woods to the fire. Wright says a 20-foot section of the top fell off first and then the tree collapsed.

The county parks department says ring samples showed the tree was roughly 3,500 years old.

The tree was named for a 1920s state senator who donated what is now Big Tree Park to the county.

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