Meth user burns 5th oldest tree in the world

Four out of five dentists agree — smoking meth in a tree is as rough on the environment as it is on teeth.

Sarah Barnes, 26, is charged with burning tree, 3,500.

Sarah Barnes, 26, is charged with burning tree, 3,500.

Need proof? Consider the sorrowful tale of 26-year-old Sarah Barnes, arrested Tuesday in Florida for burning down the fifth oldest tree in the world, reports WFTV in Orlando.

Barnes has admitted starting the fire and is charged with meth possession with intent to sell and arson.

Police say she and a friend clambered into a 118-foot-tall bald cypress Jan. 16 and allegedly smoked meth. Since it was dark, Barnes is alleged to have lit a fire so she could see.

Somehow, the calm, dextrous hands of a meth user led to a blaze that burned the 3,500-year-old plant “from the inside out.”

The night of the blaze, firefighters ran a mile of hose in a desperate attempt to save the tree, reports wesh.com.

“I can’t believe I burned down a tree older then Jesus,” Barnes is alleged to have said to friends while showing them pictures she took of the damage.

The ancient Taxodium distichum, dubbed “The Senator,” was located near Longwood, Fla., in Big Tree Park, which will need a new name.

70 comments Add your comment

gadem

February 29th, 2012
1:13 pm

drug heads are dumb

HootyGoot

February 29th, 2012
1:21 pm

Looks to me like the meth would get you high enough without having to climb a tree to smoke it!

SoothSayer

February 29th, 2012
1:31 pm

How about imposing the death penalty for someone as useless as this? I’d rather have a 3,500 year old tree in this world than this meth ravaged dolt.

Abraham

February 29th, 2012
1:42 pm

Jesus? That tree was quite possibly older than Judaism.

serenissima

February 29th, 2012
1:44 pm

Archdog

February 29th, 2012
1:45 pm

Euthanasia looks better every day.

Who Me?

February 29th, 2012
1:49 pm

It won’t replace the tree she burned down, but as part of her punishment she should have to plant 3500 new trees by hand and by herself. I’m thinking at the end of that many trees, she might just get the message.

Lori

February 29th, 2012
1:51 pm

I like that idea @Who Me? Or how about 3500 days of community service.

Sam the Sham

February 29th, 2012
1:52 pm

JRHD

February 29th, 2012
2:00 pm

Some people are just a waste of air.

Shawn

February 29th, 2012
2:03 pm

They should burn her 3500 times with a meth pipe then put her too death no punishment is enough. i will miss that tree.

Lela

February 29th, 2012
2:10 pm

Hey George! Yet another example of why postpartum abortion should be legalized. Sometimes you are just too stupid to breathe.

Vinny

February 29th, 2012
2:10 pm

The quote ““I can’t believe I burned down a tree older then Jesus,”. (Shouldn’t the AJC proofread? The word is THAN, not THEN)

JSL

February 29th, 2012
2:11 pm

I find it puzzling that George Mathis and the AJC finds so much humor in meth addiction and the demise of a 3,500 year old landmark. This would make a perfectly fine (and funny) script for David Letterman – but not for a serious news story by a respected newspaper. Oh, but wait.

[...] and a friend clambered into a 118-foot-tall bald cypress Jan. 16 and allegedly smoked meth,” reports the AJC. “Since it was dark, Barnes allegedly lit a fire so she could [...]

GG

February 29th, 2012
2:19 pm

The idiot will probably get a slap on the wrist & a token fine. Sadly, the tree is lost forever and there’s no replacing it.

Burn Her At The Stake

February 29th, 2012
2:20 pm

It is too bad that Florida did away with the Electric Chair for capital punishement……she should be strapped in and turn the current on and let her fry……much better than burning the old tree – she is obviously not worth living!

George Mathis

February 29th, 2012
2:20 pm

Vinny – I didn’t change the alleged quote for a reason … it’s a quote.

JSL – I wrote this was a “sorrowful tale” in the blog, so clearly I don’t think meth addiction or ancient tree burning is funny.

Tag

February 29th, 2012
2:23 pm

Two ruined lives.

smores

February 29th, 2012
2:28 pm

As a christian, I forgive her.

Atlanta Allen

February 29th, 2012
2:41 pm

First the pythons in the swamps, now Meth monkeys in the trees. Poor Florida.

JSL

February 29th, 2012
2:43 pm

Well, George Mathis – you and I have a very different opinion of serious and professional journalism. The way your started and ended this story speaks for itself. The only thing missing was a rim shot.

CatLover

February 29th, 2012
2:44 pm

You hit the nail on the head JRHD. Stupid is as stupid does.

Its a damn shame

February 29th, 2012
2:46 pm

Just stick with weed people.

treehugger

February 29th, 2012
2:52 pm

I don’t appreciate how this story pokes fun at the destruction of this tree.

smitr

February 29th, 2012
2:57 pm

I need to stop reading stories like this, because they make me so mad I want to spit nails. It’s people like this that are a total waste of air space and don’t deserve to be on this planet. She destroyed something that can NEVER be replaced, and she probably could’t care less. I agree with the poster that said she needs to plant 3,500 trees as part of her punishment, and then they need to lock her up and throw away the key! Scumbag!!

Redland

February 29th, 2012
3:02 pm

So we’re supposed to think all of this is funny?

B

February 29th, 2012
3:23 pm

As sad as this story is, it did have to hilarious lines. Thank you, well written.

B

February 29th, 2012
3:23 pm

Two, I meant TWO!

thenerveofsome

February 29th, 2012
3:27 pm

Dumb broad…Methamphetamine possession, manufacturing, sale, and usage should be punishable by death, along with simply being an ignorant moron.

Claudia

February 29th, 2012
3:37 pm

She looks older than the tree – plant her there.

kimmer

February 29th, 2012
3:52 pm

Well I guess this puts what ol’ harvey updike did to those young sprouts at auburn in perspective doesn’t it?

My question is how did she get inside the dang tree? I would’ve thought something that valuable one wouldn’t be able to actually crawl inside of it.

Gordon Bull

February 29th, 2012
3:55 pm

From her looks 26 going on 40, she has destroyed something more valuable than her own miserable life is worth, she should make herself a poster child of Meth and call in the media standing 118ft high in a building smoking her drug and hold a sign saying ” this is Meth” and then jump.

nomaj

February 29th, 2012
4:05 pm

Too bad her meth addled mind was racing, but not focused. Otherwise, she could have put the fire out immediately after it started with her Mountain Dew.

reality

February 29th, 2012
4:10 pm

George – first, if this is an “alleged” quote then it isn’t a quote. And second, the opening sentence about dentists makes no sense with respect to the story but certainly seems as if you are making light of the sorrowful story… and it isn’t funny anyway.

Charmander

February 29th, 2012
4:11 pm

George, even when quotes contain errors, you don’t have to print them “as is.” You can still use them and add a note to inform the reader that you’re aware of the mistake. The standard notation is to add “[sic]” after the erroneous word or sentence.
.

Otis

February 29th, 2012
4:36 pm

Hang her from the highest tree. Oh wait, she burned it down!!!!!

t-bone west

February 29th, 2012
4:55 pm

I do not understand why reporter George Mathis chose to make light of this story, to turn it into a joke. It is a tragic story. The headline should read: THE OLDEST F—ING TREE IN FLORIDA, THE FIFTH OLDEST IN THE F—ING WORLD IS BURNED DOWN BY A F—ING METH ADDICT!!! This tree, The Senator, was historic. It was 15 feet in diameter. That means if you drilled a hole through the tree the hole was 15 feet long. School children took field trips to the tree. Presidents visited the tree. It’s as if a meth addict somehow caused Niagra Falls to collapse into a jumble of low lying rubble, or if she somehow caused the Grand Canyon to fill in with sand. What are we to do? Write funny stories about it? Is that all we can do? OMG! Maybe Mitt can come up with an off message comment for us.

tree hugger

February 29th, 2012
5:57 pm

May you burn as well.

Pan

February 29th, 2012
6:51 pm

Whatever. Corporations do this every day.

ogt

February 29th, 2012
6:55 pm

What is the relevance of her having worked as a nude model? And what is the matter with people wanting her to die? She did a bad thing, yes, and she should be punished, or at least get clean… but seriously?

RIZE

February 29th, 2012
7:04 pm

I agree with the others here. What the h*ll type of reporting is this??? Some addict defaces and kills a living historic treasure and Mr. Mathis turns it into a sensational joke. Come on AJC, this is pathetic.

Zed

March 1st, 2012
8:42 am

If this was an unintentional reach out or cry for help and attention, then this person certainly got it…in spadefuls…or more like a torrential downpour…I’d say. Perhaps the death of a 3500 year old tree, could turn out to be the saving of one human life from a self-destructive drug addiction? It’s terrible and tragic that the tree is no more…but perhaps it may have fulfilled a wise and wonderful purpose beyond itself…other than simply being an ancient tree.

Tarvaris

March 1st, 2012
11:19 am

Stumps me why anyone would do something so plum stupid. She was a sap to risk life and limb fir no reason. But yew never know, maybe she will turn over a new leaf.

cracker jack

March 1st, 2012
11:44 am

#rize: Read George’s other entries. Sensational/funny stories is his schtick. But I do agree that it’s unfortunate he treated this story in such jovial fashion.

Lori

March 1st, 2012
12:29 pm

People are not a waist they just need help, what the drug does to them is not right but they truly need a lot of rehab. for drugs . She needs help and needs to take responsability with what happened. It is very sad that the tree is lost , but lives could have been taken as well .

Pat Thomas

March 1st, 2012
4:31 pm

“calm, dextrous hands of a meth user” ??? Of course, you are joking. Stop making excuses for these people. She should be up on Federal charges in a Federal pen. We all know why she isn’t. It’s the south you know.

BobbyThePHAM

March 1st, 2012
4:55 pm

Lol, anyone see the date of this article? They put 2/29/12

lesley

March 2nd, 2012
12:03 am

Let me see here . . where to begin. Meth addict = bad and stupid. Attempting to be a model with those looks after the ravages of meth = bad and stupid. Burning down the fifth oldest tree in the world and then laughIng about it — SICK, JUST SICK. THAT TREE WAS, WITHOUT A DOUBT, WORTH MORE THAN THIS WASTE OF A SPACE JUNKIE. I hope Florida persecutes her to the fullest extent of the law. what a loser

Christopher M. Burns Ozz

March 2nd, 2012
12:31 am

it’s sad that a tree had to die that way, whether it was 1yr or 3500yrs old, it’s just sad.. I hope she quits the meth too, surely can’t be good for those around her… I agree with someone though, her punishment should be to plant more trees and possibly do some community service working with nature and cleanup.. I don’t really see how she was a model or whatever though, not very pretty.. I guess the drugs do that, idk