There's a new chapter in the bizarre story of Auburn's famed Toomer's Corner oaks, and this time it involves trial by fire.
After Auburn's win over LSU on Saturday night, fans gathered at Toomer's Corner as they traditionally do, festooning the trees in toilet paper. But as the crowd began to disperse, someone lit the toilet paper on fire, setting one of the oaks ablaze.
A 29-year-old Auburn man has been taken into custody in connection with the incident, according to Elizabeth White of WTVM, a Columbus TV station.
The Auburn Fire Department extinguished the blaze.
It's not clear yet how much damage the tree sustained, but Auburn officials are investigating.
For those not familiar with the story, this isn't the first time the trees have been assaulted. In 2010, after Auburn beat Alabama in a state matchup dubbed the Iron Bowl, an unhappy Alabama fan poisoned the oaks that had stood guard on the site for 130 years. Harvey Updkye later confessed on a radio call-in show that he'd poisoned the trees with Spike 80DF, an herbicide used to clear land for grazing. The trees never recovered.
Five years later, after all the dirt and traces of the herbicide had been removed, new, much smaller trees were planted on the site.
An Auburn tradition
While some might find "rolling" the stately trees to be an inappropriate way to celebrate a win, the tradition has long roots in the community. The trees mark the point where the university campus ends and the city of Auburn begins, an intersection that also marks the home of Toomer's Drugs. Alabama state Senator "Shel" Toomer, a former Auburn player, founded Toomer's Drugs in 1896.
There's some debate over when the toilet papering tradition began, but the most compelling version of events dates back to 1972, according to the Auburn Tigers website, when football player Terry Henley announced "We're going to beat the No. 2 out of Alabama."
The team won that game, and Auburn's love of tossing toilet paper into the trees was born.