Historic Davie Poplar Catches Fire

Historic Davie Poplar Catches Fire


11 P.M. THURSDAY UPDATE - UNC Police have taken a suspect into custody, and one person suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to the hospital. Per WRAL, Carrboro police found nothing dangerous inside the suspect's car.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Davie Poplar, a historic landmark on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, remains standing after catching fire Thursday afternoon. 

The tree caught fire after a reported explosion on the McCorkle Place Quad. 

An individual lit a guitar and a book bag on fire at the base of the tree, according to witnesses at the scene. He then yelled “Hail Satan,” witnesses said.

"I heard, 'Yes, yes, yes!' as he skipped away [toward the Old Well]," said Conor Smith, a senior from Apex, N.C.

A suspect is in custody, according to Alert Carolina, the University's campus-wide alert system.

Another person tried to stomp out the fire, causing the book bag to explode. Smith walked to nearby Alumni Hall to get a fire extinguisher, but decided not to use it after seeing the initial explosion, cautioning at another detonation. 

Smith said the man had "superficial burns," but was able to walk away from the scene. Another source said the victim was taken off on a stretcher. 

At this time, his condition is unclear. 

Cameron Avenue was closed shortly thereafter, while the Carrboro Police Department closed West Weaver St. to investigate a suspicious package in the area of Weaver and Lindsay St. The police also evacuated the surrounding areas.

The campus remains operating under normal conditions.

The Davie Poplar is the subject of a notable UNC legend. William Davie, the founder of the University, supposedly claimed the University would thrive as long as the tree stood.

WARNING: This video may be disturbing.



Follow @ArgyleReport as this story develops.