- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2017

An explosion at UNC-Chapel Hill’s famous “Tree of Knowledge” was caught on film this week in a bizarre event that ended with the exclamation, “Hail Satan!”

UNC student Joshua Daniel Edwards, 24, was taken into police custody on Thursday after witnesses saw him skipping away from a fire started at the school’s Davie Poplar tree (named after Revolutionary War General William R. Davie) before 4 p.m. EDT.

Video posted to social media by witness Dawn Goodfriend showed a professor, Dan Reichart, attempt to put out the fire before an explosion that left him with first- and second-degree burns.

“Hail Satan!” a man said to be Mr. Edwards screams off camera in video posted to Twitter and local news broadcasts.

“I was an Eagle Scout as a kid, so I’ve had lots of experience with fires, and I didn’t think this one was too big to kick out,” Mr. Reichart said, a local ABC affiliate reported. “I tried but it grew very quickly, and then it exploded. I would never have approached it had I suspected there was an explosive device in there.”

Student Will Freeman told the station that Mr. Edwards said, “Yes, yes, yes” after successfully igniting the area around the tree.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that Mr. Edwards was transported to a hospital for a mental evaluation, Fox News reported.

Charges have not yet been filed against the suspect.

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