Word spread almost faster than the flames igniting one of Auburn University’s famous oak trees last Saturday’s after the game against Louisiana State University. Fans rushed to Toomer’s corner to celebrate the victory with the traditional rolling of the trees, until a massive fire caught the toilet paper and leaves on fire around midnight. Here are all the details we need to know about the incident:
1. This is only one year after the trees were replaced following the Harvey Updyke poisoning scandal.
The trees were replaced with oaks related to the 2013 poisoned oaks. It took a full two years before Auburn was able to replace the trees and start the beloved tradition again. Only four games into the season, it is haulted once more. I think it’s safe to say every Auburn student is outraged and feels robbed.
2. The suspect is in custody.
Jochen Wiest is a 29-year-old German who was living in Auburn while working for a local pharmaceutical company. He had arranged to depart back to Germany this Friday, but is now being held on a $1000 bail. Reports claim that he was highly intoxicated and spoke very little English.
3. A girl stopped him afterwards
After Wiest attempted to flee the scene, Auburn junior Herron Taylor stopped him in his tracks. She confronted the suspect and provoked him to run away. Apparently, her boyfriend and friends gave him a nice “shaking” after the confrontment.
4. Tree progress
Auburn’s horticultural expert, Gary Kleeve, has commented on the tree’s status. The key to the survival of the oak will be its bark and how well it protected the trunk of the tree. The oak may live, but be stunted and mangled. If the tree fails to produce leaves and stand up right, then a possible outcome is to replace the tree.
5. No rolling
Auburn is asking students and fans not to roll the damaged tree this weekend following the homecoming game against Louisiana-Monroe. The university is trying to do everything to be cautious and avoid any further damage to the tree.