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World’s largest treehouse has burned down

The Minister’s Treehouse was 97-feet-tall and had 80 rooms.

A large wooden structure in the forest.
The Minister’s Treehouse as seen in July 2012.
Getty Images

What God giveth, fire taketh away. The verse is not taken from the Bible, but from real life, where the world’s largest treehouse, standing at 97 feet tall, has burned down. The Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee, caught fire this week, burning to the ground in just 15 minutes.

Named for the man who started the whole thing, minister Horace Burgess, the treehouse broke ground in 1993 after Burgess claims God came to him and said, “If you build me a treehouse, I will get you all the supplies.” It turns out, God kept his word. Over the years, community members dropped off wood, and Burgess proceeded to build the epic treehouse, sans blueprints, around an 80-foot oak tree until it reached five stories and included 80 rooms.

Throughout its existence, the treehouse was a tourist attraction and held church services. The Architect’s Paper reports that the treehouse was closed to the public in 2012, after the fire department deemed it unsafe. Prescient. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.