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Man charged after Christmas tree outside Fox News building set on fire, police say

Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott branded the incident a "malicious" attack in an internal email to colleagues.
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A 49-year-old man has been taken into custody after a large Christmas tree outside the Fox News building in Manhattan appeared to have been set on fire overnight in what the network branded as a "malicious" attack.

A New York City Police Department spokesperson told NBC News on Wednesday that officers had arrested Craig Tamanaha, who has no known address, in connection with the incident. He now faces a string of charges including criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, arson, criminal nuisance endangering others, criminal trespass, criminal tampering and disorderly conduct.

In a statement earlier on Wednesday, the NYPD said Fox News security members had spotted a man climbing the Christmas tree outside the News Corp. building in midtown Manhattan at around 12:15 a.m.

The burnt remains of a Christmas tree outside NewsCorp in midtown Manhattan.
The burnt remains of a Christmas tree outside NewsCorp in midtown Manhattan. Courtesy / Matthew Sturiano

The decorated tree was then engulfed in flames, with video posted to social media showing its branches ablaze.

Upon arrival, NYPD officers saw a man running from the scene and apprehended him.

The fire was quickly extinguished by firefighters responding to the incident and no injuries were reported, according to a statement from the NYPD.

In an internal memo, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott told colleagues that the broadcaster's "All-American Christmas tree outside our building on FOX Square was set on fire in a malicious arson attack." 

Scott said the 50-foot tree had just been lit on Sunday night.

She said FOX News would "not let this deliberate and brazen act of cowardice deter us, adding that work was underway to rebuild and install a new tree "as a message that there can be peace, light and joy even during a dark moment like this."

Footage shared on social media after the fire had been put out revealed the damage, with the top half of the tree and its decorations burned away, with just the frame and a star-shaped tree topper intact.