The suspect is currently in police custody and accused of arson, allegedly burning down the 50-foot tall “All-American Christmas Tree” outside Fox News headquarters in midtown Manhattan the New York City Police Department confirmed on Wednesday.
Craig Tamanaha, a 49-year-old man who was homeless was noticed by Fox security at 12.14 a.m. early Wednesday climbing the tree in “Fox Square,” located on the Avenue of the Americas at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and 48th Street according the NYPD spokesperson.
The office tower, which is 44 stories tall, is home to the Rupert Murdoch-founded News Corp. and some of the company’s most prominent assets, like The New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.
Fox security spotted Tamanaha running off the scene and snatched him with no incident, the spokesperson stated after which the fire was put out through firefighters from the New York City Fire Department. The cause of the fire is to be discovered the New York City fire marshals.
Tamanaha Tamanaha, who is currently in NYPD custody in the Midtown Precinct North, has been accused of arson, criminal mischief criminal criminal tampering and criminal trespassing as well as reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct the spokesperson said.
In an update about the incident that occurred on Wednesday morning “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade said the suspect “went into the tree” with what seemed to be “some paper” and “lit the whole thing on fire in a matter of seconds.”
A Fox security officer “tackled [the suspect] to the ground,” Kilmeade explained, before a wider law enforcement force comprising firefighters, police and arson investigators arrived at the scene.
“The police came from all over the place. Our security personnel are amazing. They could jump right into the suspect. A number of retired detectives were able to jump right on him,” Kilmeade added. He said, “is beyond tragic and upsets everyone. The smoke, in the end it filled our entire lobby.”
Host Steve Doocy said that, as per eyewitness reports, the suspect was “about halfway up [the tree], because there is a metal superstructure underneath it,” carrying “a bunch of newspapers under his arm.” The suspect set the newspapers in flames then “went down and watched it burn,” Doocy stated.
Doocy mentioned that the co-hosts hadn’t yet read the police report about this incident. However, he said: “It’s beginning to look a lot like arson.”
The arrest was made following Fox News host Shannon Bream showed live footage on the late hours of police working to secure the scene the plaza that was smouldering with smoke. “Our thanks to the crews, who look like they’ve just about got that thing under control,” she announced just prior to 12:30 a.m.
Hosts and hosts from Fox News and Fox Nation Fox Nation, the network’s subscription-based streamer of video, led the third lighting of the Christmas tree on Sunday, as part of a holiday show lasting an hour.
The “red, white and blue themed” tree is decorated “with 10,000 glass ornaments [and] 100,000 lights,” according to Fox News, and it took “over 21 hours to assemble.”
In an internal memo to the entire company discussing the fire in the tree, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott referred to the incident as “a malicious arson attack” and added that “smoke permeated the building” in the aftermath.
“There were no injuries and thankfully all employees working inside the building remained safe throughout the duration of the fire,” Scott said.
The following morning, the “Fox & Friends” co-hosts voiced their anger over the fire and pledged that the new tree will soon be planted in the “Fox Square” plaza.
“This is vandalism,” said co-host Ainsley Earhardt. “You already know that Fox paid for the tree. Fox was required to install every ornament on the tree. Fox is a source of pleasure to you all whenever you are in New York and you see it, whether you watch it on television or when you enter this building or are in the vicinity when you listen to the tune.”
“Someone did this to spoil our Christmas,” Earhardt stated. “But this isn’t going to take place. The scrooge in question isn’t going to be able to do it.”
Kilmeade later sought to compare the NBC tree with the famous, 79-foot Christmas tree in nearby Rockefeller Center, where NBC is located.
“I get it,” Kilmeade admitted. “NBC’s been around for a long time. Every year the [NBC] Christmas tree was in the air since TV was only black and white. I know that. But in the last couple of years, this “Fox Tree of News] grown into an enormous tourist attraction.”
In reference to the fire in “Fox Square,” Kilmeade declared: “This is part of the bigger issue. The problem is the increase in crime across the nation.”
Doocy for his part, claimed that the tree in front of Fox News headquarters “is a symbol to so many people in so many different ways.” So Doocy said “it is symbolic that we rebuild.”
“Look, that was a one-of-a-kind tree,” Doocy declared. “We don’t know which tree will appear out there. But we’ll have another one pretty quickly. … We’ll put up a Christmas tree in the front of the building whenever we are able to.”
“Don’t worry. Don’t worry,” Earhardt added, reassuring viewers. “Do not be discouraged. We will not let you down. We’re planning build it again. We’re planning to rebuild it and then we’ll put it up again better.”
Scott confirmed that statement in an internal memo, which read: “We will not let this deliberate and unassuming act of cowardice discourage us. We are currently creating and putting up the new tree to convey the signal that there is joy, peace and light even in the midst of a difficult time such as this.”
“We are currently planning on a lighting ceremony for the new tree and will send those details once we have them,” Scott said.