Historic tree catches fire in central Florida park

Associated Press

LONGWOOD, Fla. (AP) — Investigators are ruling out arson after one of the world's oldest cypress trees caught fire and collapsed in central Florida.

Division of Forestry spokesman Cliff Frazier tells the Orlando Sentinel (http://thesent.nl/xBjd2H) the fire was not the work of an arsonist. The exact cause has not yet been determined.

Seminole County Fire Rescue spokesman Steve Wright says the 118-foot-tall bald cypress tree named "The Senator" burned for several hours early Monday. Wright says a 20-foot section of the top fell first and then rest of 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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Information from: Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com

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