The Christmas tree at Fox News’s Midtown headquarters was engulfed in flames early Wednesday after a man climbed it and set it on fire, according to police.
The fire broke out shortly after midnight. The network’s on-air host at the time, Shannon Bream, showed live footage of smoke billowing from the 50-foot tree at the corner of West 48th Street and Sixth Avenue.
“It appears that our giant Christmas tree there, just a couple minutes ago, was completely engulfed in flames,” she told viewers.
Fox Square Christmas tree burned in fire, suspect arrestedhttps://t.co/KWWN8JCViI
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 8, 2021
By 7:20 a.m., after the fire had been put out, police announced they had arrested a 49-year-old man who they said scaled the tree and lit it on fire. The man, Craig Tamanaha, was charged with seven counts including arson, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, the New York Times reported.
In a memo to employees Wednesday, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott called the fire a “delibrate and brazen act of cowardice.”
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“We are in the process of rebuilding and installing a new tree as a message that there can be peace, light and joy even during a dark moment like this,” Scott said.
The tree had been lit just days earlier, on Sunday, in a TV special dubbed the “All-American Christmas Tree lighting.” The tree was adorned with 10,000 ornaments and 100,000 lights, which took crews 21 hours to assemble, according to the network.
The conservative cable network’s headquarters near Rockefeller Center is a frequent site of protests, though it was not immediately clear whether ideology was a factor in Wednesday’s fire.
Earlier this morning, a 49-year-old man climbed a Christmas tree at 48 St & 6th Ave in Manhattan & lit a fire causing the tree to become engulfed in flames. The fire was extinguished & responding officers arrested the suspect, who has been charged for this crime.