The Senator Falls: World’s Oldest Cypress Tree Burns Down at Big Tree Park

The Senator, one of the world’s oldest cypress trees, burned down this morning at Big Tree Park in Florida. Police believe that the cypress tree, also known as The Big Tree, may have been set on fire by an arsonist. The Senator was 3,400 years old.

Firefighters responded to the fire at around 6 this morning. The Orlando Sentinel reports that they had to thread the hoses through 800 feet of forest to reach the fire. At 7:45, the top 20 feet of the tree had fallen to the ground.

Mike Martin with the state Division of Forestry said that he found kindling and debris piled at the bottom of the tree. Martin said that fire was likely set by an arsonist.

Martin said:

“From my observations it appears to be arson. It looks like the fire was concentrated right where the tree was.”

The tree stood 165 feet tall before a hurricane took off the top in 1925. After the fire, only 20-feet of The Senator remained.

Florida Today reports that Lady Liberty, a 2,000-year-old cypress located close to The Senator, was not damaged.