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Florida's Oldest Tree Burned Down By Woman Smoking Meth Beneath It

The Senator
The Senator
Photo by Anthony Scotti/CC 3.0

The 118-foot, 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree known as "The Senator" in Longwood, Florida, was not only the state's oldest tree, and the fifth oldest tree in the whole country, but also the largest tree of any type east of the Mississippi. To put the tree's age in perspective, it's estimated it first began growing shortly after 1500 B.C.

But now it's gone, and a meth-addicted woman has been arrested for burning it down.

The Senator mysteriously burned to the ground on January 16th. The strange fire burned the tree from the inside out, and authorities were baffled.

Now, 26-year-old Sara Barnes has been arrested for the fire. Barnes said she regularly hid out in the Senator's park to get high on meth. She was getting high underneath the Senator when she lit a fire so she could see better. The fire got out of control, and Barnes fled. Though, not before she took a few photos and videos of the fire on her cellphone.

Barnes apparently told several of her friends about the fire, and eventually one of them tipped off police. Barnes admitted to burning the tree, and police found meth, and a glass pipe in her apartment.

She's been charged with intentional burning of land, a third degree felony, as well as additional drug charges.

The Senator is survived by its nearby neighbor, "Lady Liberty," an 89 foot-high Cyprus believed to be 2,000 years old.

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