The Senator: Sara Barnes Charged With Setting Fire That Destroyed 3,500-Year-Old Florida Cypress Tree

A 26-year-old Orlando-area woman has been charged with setting the January fire that burned and destroyed ‘The Senator’, one of the world’s oldest pond cypress trees and a beloved local attraction.

Investigators said tips to a crime hotline led them to Sara Barnes, who allegedly took photos of the fire she started inside the popular 118-foot-high hollow tree and uploaded them to her laptop, reports WKMG. According to WESH, Barnes told police she regularly visited the spot in Longwood’s Big Tree Park to use drugs, and lit a fire the night of January 16 in order to see better.

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