Images of a Christmas tree engulfed in flames outside the headquarters of the Fox News network have been widely shared on social media, with the blaze suspected to be the result of an arson attack.
It’s understood that the 50-foot tree caught fire shortly after midnight on December 8, just outside of Fox News Studios in Manhattan, with the fire spreading to other, shorter trees within the vicinity.
As reported by ABC7, a 49-year-old man seen climbing the tree by building security personnel was swiftly taken into custody.
The man, who has been identified as Craig Tamanaha, is reported to be homeless, with his last known address said to be located in Brooklyn.
Tamanaha has now reportedly been charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, arson, criminal nuisance, endangering others, criminal trespass, criminal tampering and disorderly conduct.
Firefighters attending the scene were able to extinguish the blaze quickly, as per a statement from the NYPD, and thankfully no injuries have been reported. The investigation into the matter remains ongoing.
The tree was lit during the network’s ‘All-American’ Christmas special on Sunday, December 5, with Fox News reporting that ‘the red, white and blue themed tree’ took more than ’21 hours to assemble’, decorated with no fewer than 10,000 ornaments and 100,000 lights.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s big reveal, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy spoke cheerfully of the Christmas spirit to be found at Fox Square:
When we walk in at three and four o’clock in the morning on weekdays to go to work, the music is so orchestral, so dramatic, and so big, it just puts you in the Christmas spirit as you walk through the crossroads of the world.
Rockefeller Center is famous for having a Christmas tree. Now we have two of the biggest Christmas trees in Rockefeller Center.
Footage shared to social media shows how the many baubles and lights had been burned completely away from the tree, with only the blackened frame remaining.
Fox News has confirmed that crews will now set about rebuilding the large Christmas tree this month, in time for the festive season.