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NYPD arrests man suspected of setting fire to Christmas tree outside of Fox News HQ

News Corp Tree Fire
Posted at 9:21 AM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 11:58:29-05

Police have arrested a man they say is responsible for setting fire to a Christmas tree outside of the News Corp headquarters in New York City.

WABC-TV and WPIX-TV in New York report that the Christmas tree located outside of the building at 48th Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan that houses Fox News studios caught fire just after midnight early Wednesday morning.

Bystander video shows the top half of the enormous tree on fire.

Firefighters were later able to extinguish the blaze, and no injuries were reported.

The NYPD has confirmed that it has arrested a 49-year-old man in connection with the fire.

Both WABC and WPIX have identified the suspect as Craig Tamanaha and say he has been charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, arson, criminal nuisance (endangering others), criminal tampering and disorderly conduct.

According to WABC, police say the man was able to scale the "metal superstructure" of the artificial tree, set fire to papers that he had brought with him and shove the flaming papers into the tree.

After the suspect climbed down, he was spotted by building security. Police officers posted at nearby Rockefeller Center were able to track down the suspect and make the arrest. The suspect was reportedly carrying a lighter with him at the time of his arrest.

Police did not comment on a potential motive, but NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told WABC that the suspect is "an individual that is known to us," and that he has "a series of low-level arrests and drug arrest."

The tree was first lit in a televised ceremony on Sunday evening. According to Fox News, the 50-foot tree was decorated with 10,000 glass ornaments and 100,000 lights. They added that it took 21 hours to assemble the tree.

Christmas Tree Fire Fox News News Corp
A worker disassembles a Christmas tree outside Fox News headquarters, in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. Police say a man is facing charges including arson for setting fire to a 50-foot Christmas tree in front of Fox News headquarters in midtown Manhattan. The tree outside of the News Corp. building that houses Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post caught fire early Wednesday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)