Note: This post was updated on 2/29/12 after the arrest of a woman who has confessed to starting the fire. And on 3/18/19 to remove dead links.
Today is a sad day.
“The Senator“, one of the oldest cypress trees in the world, caught fire, burned and collapsed this morning in Longwood Florida. It burned from the inside out and local firefighters spent several hours trying to put out the fire and save the tree. Efforts even included dumping water on the flames from a Sheriff’s helicopter. The fire was apparently caused by a woman inside the hollow tree who started the fire so she could see the illegal drugs she was using. These Orlando Sentinel links have more details:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/seminole/os-senator-cypress-tree-fire-20120116,0,6171920.story(sorry – no longer available)
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/os-ed-michael-sacasas-tree-myword-011912-20120118,0,2070404.story(sorry – no longer available) http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-senator-tree-fire-arrest-20120228,0,4902574.story(sorry – no longer available) http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-beth-kassab-senator-fire-030112-20120229,0,3475224.column(sorry – no longer available)
The tree was an estimated 3500 years old. A 20 – 25 feet section of the base is still standing and it’s all that remains of the 125 foot tall tree that was there only yesterday. It was even taller before the top section was lost to a hurricane in 1925. “Lady Liberty”, a nearby companion tree thought to be 2000 years old was not damaged in this fire. Seminole county is now planning to spend $30,000 for fencing at the site to protect the remains of the Senator as well as Lady Liberty.
It is a big shame that Seminole County did not adequately protect this site. I’m so very glad I went by Big Tree Park last September to photograph the tree and write it up for Central Florida Photo Ops. I hope you visited too.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos. Sometimes you don’t get a second chance.
©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved