Auburn man sets oak tree at Toomer's Corner on fire

Rebecca Rakowitz

Following a nail-biting win over LSU on Saturday that came down to the last second, Jochen Wiest, a 29-year-old Auburn man who authorities say is unaffiliated with the university, set fire to one of the oak trees at 
Toomer’s Corner.

Video footage from surveillance cameras has since been released and indicates that Wiest walked up to the Oak tree on the corner of College St. and W. Magnolia Ave. and set fire to some of the toilet paper dangling from the tree.

The event follows only one year after Auburn University officials gave fans the go ahead to resume their tradition of tossing rolls of toilet paper over their oak trees.

According to a press release from the Auburn police, Wiest was taken into custody on an unrelated charge of public intoxication early Saturday morning, but has since been arrested and charged with desecration of a venerable object, which is a Class A misdemeanor. Wiest is currently being held at the Lee County Detention Center on a $1,000 bond and faces up to 1 year of jail time.

Auburn PD said the fire department arrived and extinguished the fire at approximately 12:15 a.m.

Gary Keever, a horticulture professor at Auburn University, conducted an inspection of the tree Sunday morning. In an interview with Keever said that the extent of the damage may not be know for several weeks. Keever summarized that the canopy has been damaged on two parts of the tree, the trunk has been burned, and that the leaves of the tree will fall off within the next few days.

In the past 48 hours, Auburn fans have come together to display posters around the tree, many of them making references to Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax.

“I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues,” read one cardboard sign with a drawing of the Lorax displayed beside 
the text.