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World's largest treehouse burns to the ground

CBS News logo CBS News 10/23/2019 Sophie Lewis
dronetreehousefireaftermath10-23-19-1571832759.jpg © WVLT dronetreehousefireaftermath10-23-19-1571832759.jpg

The Minister's Treehouse — reportedly the largest treehouse in the world — has burned to the ground after a raging fire. The Tennessee landmark went up in flames late Tuesday night, and officials were unable to save it.

Cumberland County Fire Rescue said the entire building turned to ash in less than 15 minutes, CBS affiliate WVLT-TV confirmed. Locals watched as the fire erupted around 10:30 p.m. local time. The house collapsed just as emergency services arrived.

The Minister's Treehouse was an iconic landmark in Crossville, Tennessee. It was built by Horace Burgess, an architect-turned-pastor who said he was inspired by a vision from God.

The structure was closed to the public in 2011 for safety concerns, but had previously been a tourist destination. It stood nearly 100 feet tall and had 10 stories that spread across seven trees, complete with balconies and staircases.

Though the structure has been officially closed for many years, it was allegedly trespassed frequently by vandals.

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, Cumberland County Fire/Rescue officials said.

a house with trees in the background: The treehouse built by Horace Burgess is shown in Crossville, Tenn in 2007. © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. The treehouse built by Horace Burgess is shown in Crossville, Tenn in 2007.

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