News, Culture & Society

Police arrest man after Christmas tree outside News Corporations Midtown headquarters is set ablaze 

Homeless man sets fire to iconic 50ft Christmas Tree outside News Corp’s Manhattan HQ: Fox News employees watched as 49-year-old climbed tree then tried to run away before being arrested

  • A FOX News employee watched the homeless man climbing the tree at 12.14am on Wednesday morning 
  • Craig Tamahana, 49, was taken into custody trying to run away from the tree
  • He is now in custody on six charges including arson, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and endangerment  
  • The red, white and blue tree was decorated Sunday with 10,000 glass ornaments outside the building
  • It is home to some of America’s most well known news outlets like The New York Post, Fox and Wall St Journal
  • It remains unclear if Tamahana knew what he was targeting or if the stunt was any kind of political protest 
  • He is due in court in Manhattan later today  

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A 49-year-old homeless man has been arrested for setting fire to the iconic 50ft Christmas Tree outside the News Corp HQ in Times Square last night. 

Fox News employees watched as the Craig Tamahana, 49, climbed the tree at 12.14am and called police. He tried to scramble away, but was taken into custody. 

NYPD detectives tell DailyMail.com that it was a completely random act and not politically motivated against News Corp, which owns The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Tamahana’s criminal record remains unconfirmed. He is in police custody, awaiting transfer and is due to appear later in court on Wednesday.

The incident is another sad example of the senseless and random crime that is ravaging the city and is likely to deter tourists this Christmas, the first festive season that New York has been able to welcome international visitors since 2019. 

Crime is soaring all over the city with violent attacks on subways and random assaults in the street happening far more frequently than in the past two years.

Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio has been largely blamed for the surge in violence, after softening bail reform to let criminals out of jail early then moving homeless people out of shelters and onto the streets or into hotels during the height of the pandemic. 

His term ends on December 31. Mayor-elect Eric Adams, a former NYPD cop, has promised a crackdown on crime. 

A 50ft tall Christmas tree outside the News Corporation building in New York has been set on fire as police arrested a man for arson

Plumes of black smoke billowed from the festive display after it was set ablaze shortly after midnight in Fox Square, by the building which houses Fox News

Plumes of black smoke billowed from the festive display after it was set ablaze shortly after midnight in Fox Square, by the building which houses Fox News

Plumes of black smoke billowed from the festive display after it was set ablaze shortly after midnight in Fox Square, by the building which houses Fox News 

Three nearby Christmas trees which were also decorated with lights were damaged by the blaze.

Police cordoned off the square as FDNY firefighters extinguished the fire.

A 49-year-old man has been arrested after he was seen climbing the tree before running away but police have not yet revealed any further information, but said they do not believe it was politically motivated.

Investigators also refused to confirm if they found an incendiary device. 

The tree had been lit Sunday during an ‘all-American Christmas tree lighting’ ceremony.

It had been decorated with 10,000 glass ornaments, 100,000 lights and it had taken staff 21 hours to assemble. 

It is not yet known if the tree will be replaced.

Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy said at its unveiling: ‘When we walk in at three and four o’clock in the morning on weekdays to go to work, the music is so orchestral, so dramatic, and so big, it just puts you in the Christmas spirit as you walk through the crossroads of the world.

‘Rockefeller Center is famous for having a Christmas tree. Now we have two of the biggest Christmas trees in Rockefeller Center.’

The red, white and blue decorations were completely destroyed as the flames engulfed the tree on West 48th Street and 6th Avenue

The red, white and blue decorations were completely destroyed as the flames engulfed the tree on West 48th Street and 6th Avenue

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk