Florida fire consumes 3,500-year-old tree


— One of the world’s oldest cypress trees was destroyed in a mysterious fire Monday.

A state Division of Forestry investigator listed the cause as “undetermined” but ruled out arson, said Cliff Frazier, an agency spokesman.

Firefighters responded about 5:50 a.m. to the blaze, which was burning inside the 3,500-year-old tree named the Senator.

About 7:45 a.m., a 20-foot section of the treetop fell off, Seminole County Fire Rescue spokesman Steve Wright said. By 8:15 a.m., more of the tree had collapsed.


The tree, which was hollow, burned for several hours from the inside out — almost like a chimney, Wright said.

The tree was estimated to be 165 feet tall before a hurricane took off the top in 1925, according to research conducted by county historians.

Once the fire was out, about 20 to 25 feet of the tree was still standing, said Mike Martin of the Division of Forestry.