A 49-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly setting a Christmas tree outside the Fox News headquarters in Midtown on fire last night.
An NYPD spokesperson told Gothamist the incident happened around 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning in Fox Square at the corner of 48th Street and Sixth Avenue, right outside the News Corporation building where Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post are all located.
A 49-year-old man, identified by police as Craig Tamanaha, allegedly was observed by Fox News security climbing the 50-foot Christmas tree (which, as you can see in the photo above, is technically a "metal superstructure" made up to look like a tree) and then setting it on fire.
Simultaneously on Fox News, anchor Shannon Bream reported on what was happening, telling viewers, "This is the Fox Square in New York, outside of Fox headquarters. It appears that our giant Christmas tree there, just a couple of minutes ago, was completely engulfed in flames."
.@ShannonBream offers an update on the Fox News Christmas tree, which caught fire earlier tonight: "The fire appears to be out for now. Moments ago, you could see it was engulfed in flames. No word of any injuries there. We saw the crews there, bravely fighting through this." pic.twitter.com/Zs5ZUV3cMm— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) December 8, 2021
The fire was extinguished without anyone being injured or any other damage to property besides the tree. Police add that the Fire Marshall will investigate the cause of the fire; ABC7 reports that the suspect had a lighter on him, and he "lit papers he brought with him on fire, and shoved the papers into the tree structure."
Tamanaha was taken into custody at the scene. He has been charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, criminal nuisance, criminal trespass, criminal tampering and disorderly conduct.
The tree had been officially lit last Sunday during Fox News' “All-American” Christmas special. According to Fox News, it was decorated with 10,000 ornaments and 100,000 lights and apparently took over 21 hours to assemble.