Christmas Tree Outside Of FOX News Building Set On Fire, Man Arrested

Holiday Season Begins Across New York City Area

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A man was arrested on accusations that he set fire to a 50-foot Christmas tree outside the FOX News building in New York City early Wednesday (December 8) morning, ABC 7 Eyewitness News reports.

Craig Tamanaha, 49, a homeless man whose last known address was in Brooklyn, was charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, arson, criminal nuisance, endangering others, criminal trespass, criminal tampering and disorderly conduct in connection to the incident.

Bystanders shared videos of thick black smoke clouds coming from the tree on the citizen app after the New York Police Department said an individual lit the tree on fire on West 48th Street and 6th Avenue in the Midtown area of Manhattan.

The department said Tamanaha climbed up "the metal superstructure" shaped to look like a tree and lit papers he carried up with him on fire before shoving them into the structure and climbing down as it continued to burn.

Tamanaha was spotted by building security in nearby Rockefeller Center -- the site of the famous Christmas tree lighting ceremony -- who pointed him out to police posted in the area.

Police confirmed to ABC 7 Eyewitness News that Tamanaha had a lighter in his possession at the time of his arrest.

Tamanaha has three previous arrests including two for drug possession and another for public intoxication.

Police have not determined a motive for the incident, but believe Tamanaha acted alone and are investigating whether mental illness played a factor.

"The motive I don't think is clear at this point," said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea via ABC 7 Eyewitness News. "It's an individual that is known to us. He has a series of low level arrests and drug arrest. He was issued earlier this year some appearance tickets and didn't come back to court, which unfortunately is something we see all too often. Also has some low level arrests out of state."

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