What Caused the Fox News Christmas Tree Fire in New York?

An artificial tree outside Fox News' headquarters in New York City was on fire shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

The fully decorated 50-foot Christmas tree, adorned with 10,000 glass ornaments and 100,000 lights, was engulfed in flames outside the News Corp. building that houses Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

Firefighters extinguished the flames and there were no reports of any injuries.

In a memo sent to network staff members, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said: "We will not let this deliberate and brazen act of cowardice deter us," the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Scott said a new tree will be installed and lit up live on air "as a sign of resilience and hope in the face of a horrible act," according to a company memo shown to Newsweek.

The lighting ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. local time, accompanied by Christmas carol singers, according to the memo.

What Caused the Fox News Christmas Tree Fire?

The Christmas tree was allegedly set on fire by Craig Tamanaha, a 49-year-old homeless man who was spotted climbing the tree by Fox News Channel security.

A spokesperson for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) told Newsweek on Thursday: "The cause of the fire is to be determined by NYC Fire Marshall, there are no injuries reported and the investigation is ongoing."

Police do not believe the fire was politically motivated.

The suspect was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He was taken to Manhattan's Midtown North Precinct.

The NYPD spokesperson said: "Upon arrival, officers observed the male running from the location and he was taken into custody without further incident."

The suspect was charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, arson, criminal nuisance-endangering others, criminal trespass, criminal tampering and disorderly conduct in connection to the fire.

According to police, the suspect had a lighter on him but it was unclear whether any accelerant was used.

The New York Post reported Thursday that Tamanaha has been released without bail after his arraignment on Wednesday. He was granted a supervised release at the request of prosecutors.

At the arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bayley said Tamanaha was "not charged with a bail eligible offense." The suspect was told to return to court on January 4, according to the Post.

Who Is Craig Tamanaha?

According to Fox News, Tamanaha had three prior arrests, which include two for drug possession and one for public intoxication. His last known address was reportedly in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

The Post reported the suspect's father, Richard Tamanaha of Hawaii, explained his son has had a history of destructive stunts and drug abuse.

"I can't control him," the father is reported to have said, noting "Mentally, he's not all there."

Update 12/10/21, 6:42 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment from Fox News.

Workers disassembling the Fox News Christmas tree.
Workers seen disassembling the Christmas tree outside News Corporation at Fox Square in New York City after it was allegedly set on fire December 8, 2021. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images