Attempt is made to set fire to 'Virgin Mary Tree'
By Steve Gehrke
The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 05/15/2009 06:40:01 PM MDT
Salt Lake City police have arrested a man after he allegedly was seen trying to set fire to the so-called "Virgin Mary Tree."
Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Mark Bednarik said the man was seen walking near the tree at 700 South and 300 East on Tuesday when he stopped and set fire to a small stand of stairs that leads up to what some say is an image of Mary in the bark.
"According to a witness, the man was seen throwing cardboard onto the platform," Bednarik said. "He then tried to light it."
It was unclear whether the man used matches, a lighter, or even worship candles placed around the tree.
Many see the tree as a holy site and have maintained a shrine in front of it since the image of Mary was believed to have been discovered on the tree.
Bednarik said the fire was confined to the stand itself and did not spread to the tree.
The man walked away from the tree, but Salt Lake City police arrested him. He bailed out of jail, but the man might be charged with arson and public intoxication.
Bednarik said it was unclear why anyone would have wanted to try to set the tree on fire. The incident remains under investigation.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Honest, I tried to look back through the archives to recall which BVM Tree this was, but I am "stumped".