Fire destroys one of world's oldest trees

January 16, 2012 11:54:31 AM PST
Firefighters say one of the world's oldest cypress trees has caught fire and collapsed in central Florida.

It's unknown what caused a 118-foot-tall bald cypress tree named "The Senator" to catch fire early Monday.

Seminole County Fire Rescue spokesman Steve Wright tells the Orlando Sentinel the tree burned for several hours from the inside out.

Firefighters arrived around 5:50 a.m. and pulled more than 800 feet of hose through the woods to the fire. Wright says a 20-foot section of the tree fell off around 7:45 a.m., and the tree collapsed a half-hour later.

According to the county's parks and preservation department, "The Senator" was roughly 3,500 years old.

Parks officials say the tree reached a height of 165 feet before a 1925 hurricane lopped off its top.