No one is sure when the Great Oak in New Braintree burned, but it was discovered recently by a man out for a run while training for a triathlon.
Fire Chief Dennis Letendre says evidence gathered at the scene, including a glass bottle found in the hollowed out trunk, indicates arson. The fire weakened the trunk, causing the 100-foot wide canopy to collapse.
In 2000, the tree had a circumference of more than 20 feet 4-1/2 feet from the ground and was nearly 100 feet tall.
State Sen. Stephen Brewer, who represents the small central Massachusetts town, tells The Telegram & Gazette (http://bit.ly/Tg1SjV) that destruction of the tree was “gruesomely hurtful.”
Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com