UNC Physics and Astronomy Professor Daniel Reichart's Thursday didn't go quite as planned.
“I was on my way to get some ice cream and I saw fire,” Reichart said. “I just thought it was simple arson. Growing up, I was an Eagle Scout, so I have some similarity with fires. I never saw the perpetrator, everything just accelerated so fast.”
Reichart had come across the explosion at the Davie Poplar, a campus landmark. He approached the tree and attempted to kick the fire out. In a matter of 15 to 20 seconds after approaching the fire, the backpack the fire started from exploded. In the process, the tree was scorched and Reichart said he was thrown about 30 feet.
“I just got up, and I must have been pumped with adrenaline," he said. "Medical students gave me some water to pour over my hands and my head. The fire department arrived and I walked to the ambulance. I’ve been here (at the hospital) since Thursday.”
A video surfaced of the explosion, showing the professor approaching the tree and after a couple of kicks the backpack explodes.