The tree standing tall in 2004.
The tree, burning and charred on Monday.
By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
Published: January 20, 2012
"LONGWOOD, Fla. — Back, way back, before King Tut was born and Alexander the Great roamed his empire, the Senator sprouted in a swamp here in central Florida.
So on Monday, when word got out that the huge, 3,500-year-old bald cypress had burned and collapsed, people from the area who thought that nothing — not hurricanes, not loggers, not disease — could fell the Senator, sank into disbelief.
Investigators for the Division of Forestry are still trying to figure out how the tree burned down early Monday morning. Arson remains a possibility, although it had been initially discounted. Two other possible theories are being considered: the tree was struck by lightning long before Monday (maybe as long as two weeks) and slowly smoldered from the inside, or friction from the wind caused it to combust."