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Tweeter of Toomer’s Corner curious fire photo shares story

It would be nice if she could put this on her resume, WSFA.

The cell phone photo that Auburn senior Shaye Smith tweeted at 2 a.m. Sunday has become the go-to graphic for almost every news posting pertaining to the recent fires at Toomer’s Corner (TWER included) since the story broke (because, you know, the photo basically broke the story).

Kind of an inauspicious way to cap off your final home game Saturday as a Auburn student, but at least memorable.

We tweeted Shaye down to get what so far seems to be the first eye-witness account of the fire (or at least the first of what is now known to have been three separate fires) up on the internet.

Because inquiring Auburn minds want to know. (We want to know.)

Shaye Smith in her own e-words:

Well, a few friends were in town with staying with me this weekend and we had been at Bourbon Street bar (Downtown Auburn) seeing one of our favorite bands, The Grand Magnolias (formerly Hightide Blues). I was gathering everyone together to leave and walked out of the bar at about 2 a.m. and I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time and he ran past me pointing at Toomer’s Corner.

Surprised that he didn’t stop to say hey, I turned around and the tree was already on fire, but I caught it in time to watch it grow. Everyone rushed to the corner across the street (honestly, someone who wasn’t an Auburn fan would have thought the world was ending). I pushed up to the front and asked a guy standing on the curb and he told me that a UGA fan had lit some toilet paper hanging from the tree with a lighter. That’s just what he said. I can’t guarantee that’s truly what happened. Everyone’s reactions were quite different. Some were shocked, some were mad and some (fans who have been rolling the tree since they were too young to remember-like me) were worried.

I’m a senior in public relations who has an obsession with social media, and I keep many friends and family updated on what’s going on in Auburn, so of course I pushed my way to the front to snap a few photos on my phone.

The fire fighters were there within a few minutes while the crowd continued to watch at the corner (there were actually still people walking under the tree) and the fire truck was parked in the middle of the street and the fire fighters got and put out the fire within a few minutes.
We left at 2:06 a.m. (I know this because I texted a friend when we were walking to the car) and the fire had been controlled, but the fire fighters were still working. The fire was out for the most part.
I uploaded the photo to Twitter on Sunday and also uploaded a few others to Facebook. I have a friend (@ap_sims) who I know retweeted it on Twitter and I know many others did as well because it was big news in the Auburn community on Sunday. I’m not sure if WSFA used it, but he told me that WTVM used it. I have also googled the event and found it on quite a few other sites.
I don’t mind that people posted it, because (obviously) I uploaded it to Twitter for people to know about the event, but I was there and they wouldn’t have had the photo if they hadn’t gotten it from me (on Twitter). Being a PR major, I have taken many journalism classes, but not any journalism ethics/law classes, so I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with them doing that. It’s just frustrating and it would be nice to have some credit-especially since I am currently in the job search process (graduating in Dec.), and I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to have my photo posted in quite a few places. 🙂

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