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Woman admits to burning down 3,500-year-old tree while smoking meth

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Why is it that so many of nature's most awe-inspiring specimens seem to meet their end under such stupid circumstances? Some of you may recall reading about The Senator in recent weeks. The massive tree — which stood for over 3,500 years in what is now Longwood, Florida — was the oldest pond cypress tree in the world, and was believed to be the fifth-oldest tree on the planet. And on January 16th of this year, after smoldering unnoticed for over a week, The Senator became engulfed in flames and fell to Earth, utterly destroyed.


For over a month, officials have been puzzling over the cause behind the tree's igneous undoing. Now, according to Florida's WFTV news, they finally have their answer:

In January, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service initially suspected an arsonist, and also believed that lightning could have caused the fire.

However, through Crimeline tips, they learned [26-year-old Sarah Barnes] and a friend were inside the tree taking methamphetamine.

Agents said Barnes took pictures of the fire and downloaded the images to her cellphone and computer. Officials said she showed people the images, and said "I can't believe I burned down a tree older then [sic] Jesus."


Yeah. We're having a hard time wrapping our heads around the absurdity of the situation, ourselves, Sarah.

Hat tip to Stephanie
[WFTV News]
Top image via Wikimedia Commons; The Senator's glowing trunk via