A suspect is in custody after a large Christmas tree outside Fox News' New York City headquarters was set on fire early Wednesday morning. The New York Police Department confirmed hours later that a 49-year-old man, identified as Craig Tamanaha, had been identified as a suspect and arrested in connection to the fire. Tamanaha faced numerous charges.
Tamanaha's arrest came just hours after the 50-foot-tall tree – located at the center of Fox Square in Manhattan outside the 6th Avenue building that houses Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Post – went up in flames just after midnight Wednesday morning. The flames quickly spread, with photos and videos from the scene showing the top half of the tree engulfed in flames. Emergency personnel arrived at the scene and firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.
🚨#BREAKING: Fox News Christmas tree has caught fire outside their HQ on the Avenue of the Americas— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) December 8, 2021
📌 #Manhattan l #Newyork
Shannon Bream announces on Fox News Night that Fox News's Christmas tree has caught fire outside their HQ on the Avenue of the Americas. pic.twitter.com/FURa4Vo20W
In a statement later that morning, the NYPD confirmed that a suspect had been taken into custody. NBC News reported that the NYPD said Fox News security members spotted a man climbing the Christmas tree at around 12:15 a.m. When officers arrived at the scene, they saw a man running from the scene. The man was quickly apprehended. Officers did not immediately release the man's identity, with NYPD spokesperson Detective Adam Navarro telling NBC News that as of 5 a.m., charges were still pending.
Shortly after, the NYPD identified the suspect as Tamanaha, who is unhoused, with a last known address in Brooklyn, ABC 7 reported. Authorities said Tamanaha appears to have acted alone. Tamanaha now faces several charges, including criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, arson, criminal nuisance, endangering others, criminal trespass, criminal tampering and disorderly conduct. He is scheduled to appear in court sometime Wednesday. The outlet reported that Tamanaha has three prior arrests, including two for drug possession and one for public intoxication.
The Christmas tree, which was left badly damaged following the blaze, stands 50 feet tall and is located in what News Corporation calls Fox Square outside its headquarters. The tree features promintently on Fox News, which hosted a tree lighting ceremony Sunday night. The All-American-themed tree is decorated in red, white, and blue and features 10,000 glass ornaments and 100,000 lights. It took workers 21 hours to assemble the decorations, Fox News reported.