Toomer's Oaks mysteriously ablaze
by Nathan Simone / ONLINE EDITOR
Nov 18, 2012 | 171585 views | 9 9 comments | 119 119 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Most of the mass of paper left from Auburn's win against Alabama A&M was consumed in a brilliant flame next to Biggin Hall. (Courtesy of Alessio Summerfield)
Most of the mass of paper left from Auburn's win against Alabama A&M was consumed in a brilliant flame next to Biggin Hall. (Courtesy of Alessio Summerfield)
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At 2 p.m., it could be clearly seen that the the trees and their surroundings were visibly charred. (Nathan Simone / ONLINE EDITOR)
At 2 p.m., it could be clearly seen that the the trees and their surroundings were visibly charred. (Nathan Simone / ONLINE EDITOR)
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At approximately 3:20 a.m. Nov. 18, toilet paper hanging from Toomer's Oaks mysteriously caught fire.

Most of the mass of paper left from Auburn's win against Alabama A&M was consumed in a brilliant flame next to Biggin Hall.

Police officers on the scene did not know the cause of the fire, which was soon extinguished by the fire department.

Alessio Summerfield, junior in RTVF, had just finished eating at Jimmy John's when someone shouted that Toomer's Corner was on fire.

"It was one of the most surreal experiences I've had as an Auburn student," Summerfield said. "I think it took me and the group I was with quite a while to process what we were actually seeing."

Before the fire department arrived, Summerfield said he and other students were immediately concerned that the fire might spread to campus.

"We just kept swearing and freaking out about how the fire might spread to campus, tree by tree," Summerfield said.

This is not the first time Toomer's Oaks have been up in flames.

Following Auburn's 49-31 win over UGA Nov. 13, 2010, an upset Georgia fan set fire to the paper hanging from the trees.

Summerfield said whatever started the fire probably didn't result out of spite.

"Since this happened once before in 2010, and the folks that are out that late are usually the belligerent type, I don't really think it was done out of malice," Summerfield said.

At 2 p.m., it could be clearly seen that the outside of the trees were visibly charred.

At approximately 2:10 p.m., Jacob Dean, junior in political science, was downtown running errands when he read the news about the trees and visited the corner.

"You can still see that everything is pretty charred," Dean said. "You can smell the smoke around the area."

Rodney Hartsfield, deputy fire chief of the Auburn Fire Division, said occurrences such as this are more common than students may think.

"This isn't the first time the trees have caught on fire," Hartsfield said. "It happens periodically through every football season. With that amount of toilet paper up in the trees, all it takes is a cigarette. We still don't know what started it Sunday morning."

As of 10:21 a.m. Nov. 19, Capt. Tom Stofer of the Auburn Police Department said there is no more information to be released and that the investigation is ongoing.

Toomer's Oaks have been in the news consistently since January of 2011 for allegedly being poisoned by self-proclaimed Alabama fan Harvey Updyke.

Comments
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iamroy
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November 19, 2012
Tree By Tree

We huddled, warm, and dense and fair

The night beneath the Toomers air

And whence the flames did flicker on

Summoned glory of fair Auburn's dawn.

As splintered branch from leaf to root

Fell downward, scorching, specked in soot

An Auburn man I scance recall

Yelled "Tree by tree protect them all!

Come Auburn men and women fair

And huddle neath the Toomers air!

And fight once more for Auburn high!

And 'Tree By Tree' will be our cry!"
averagejoe1967
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November 18, 2012
Perhaps they SHOULD build some indestructible trees. To fund this, they could cut down the current trees and make toilet paper holders out of the wood and sell them for $50.00 each. That way Auburn fans could "Roll" Toomers trees every day. How appropriate.
Wikkidmouse
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November 18, 2012
I visited a museum last year in Arkansas called Crystal Bridges and right at the front entrance of it is a huge beautiful silver tree: http://www.lanceturner.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/crystal-bridges-grounds-tree-copy.jpg

I said to my Auburn fan BF, Why doesn't Auburn build a couple trees like this one so noone can ever damage them again or take away the rolling tradition?

Wikkidmouse
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November 18, 2012
BTW I am NOT an Arkansas fan! I am a Bama fan, so I understand the love and depth of how deep Alabama Football traditions run.

(and I cheer for Auburn when they play- well until the Iron Bowl. Ha-Ha)

I also wanna say I was deeply sicken by the poisoning of the trees and I donated money to the trees fund last year. I hope enough of you like my suggestion for the silver trees(or maybe some type of trees statues)and make it happen, because I believe it would serve the overall purpose and allow you all to still enjoy and proceed with your rolling tradition.

auburngrad10
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November 18, 2012
Find a new tradition?? What? Then it wouldn't be a tradition...I think that people have an extreme jealousy of the Auburn family and the fact that no matter how our season has turned out, we still roll Toomer's in support of our school. We never back down. Others don't like that we can handle losses and come together as a family in support. That tradition will never die, and this isn't the first time they have been burned out of jealousy...what a sad sad thing. Shouldn't those teams be celebrating their win? Not focusing on our team? hmmm....oh well. I BELIEVE IN AUBURN AND LOVE IT!!!
WarEagleRedskin
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November 18, 2012
I think its time we find a new tradition-This was has brought more destruction to these trees than any good that can come from it-Really Ive always thought it was absurd to roll our OWN campus after a victory-We have enough real traditions here-The flight of our eagle pre-game is the most incredible and moving traditions in college football-We have the best fan base and the best game day experience of any school in the nation-We dont need to have an elementary prank of rolling our own trees to be AUBURN-You dont need to keep a tradition just because youve been doing it a while-Sometimes ideas catch fire (no pun intended) but that doesnt mean its a good idea...Lets find something unique, creative and special to Auburn... not this when the trees are barely holding on for life...or at least lets give them a chance to survive and postpone the "rolling" until they have healed...

tdeizman
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November 18, 2012
Agreed
Anna.michelle1
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November 18, 2012
WarEagleRedskin... Are you familiar with why we roll Toomer's Corner? This is not an elementary prank. It goes back to how students would hear that Auburn had won. Toomer's Drugs had a telegraph and would get updates about games, and when Auburn won, they would throw the ticker tape up in the tree as a visible sign of victory. It's a fun way to remember the past, and it in no way lessens the Auburn Spirit. It celebrates history. Great efforts have always been taken to preserve the trees, and the worst damage has been from people who could only wish to be a part of something as great as the Auburn Family. Just because we have some crazy redneck jerks out there who vandalize property doesn't mean we should stop tradition. As far as letting the trees heal, I'm pretty sure the University has people educated enough in the care and preservation of the trees to know what restrictions to enforce. Please don't belittle Auburn's traditions just because you aren't a fan of them.
WaR_EaGLE-MKH-
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November 18, 2012
Wow,

By your logic we should stop building tall buildings in New York so terrorists won't fly plains into them. Perhaps we should stop flying the eagle on the off chance some crazed redneck brings a shotgun to the game. No my friend, you don't tuck tail and run. I myself believe in a spirit that is not afraid. Why don't we have one or two police officers watch the trees all night until the fire department washes them off Sunday morning? Surely the athletic department could afford to have minimal security, and a fire truck on hand for a few hours after the game. I hope that my unborn kids have the chance to grow up rolling Toomer's corner just like I did. Yes it is one of many traditions we are blessed with at Auburn, but not one that we should simply discard because our enemy's choose to attack it. Just my honest opinion.