NEW YORK — Police in New York on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of having deliberately torched the giant Christmas tree standing in front of the Fox News headquarters overnight.
The 49-year-old individual faces charges of arson after being found around midnight (0500 GMT Wednesday) climbing the structure supporting the 15-meter (50 foot) tree in the heart of Manhattan.
The tree then went up in flames, a scene caught on camera.
The arrested man had a lighter on him but police are uncertain whether he used any propellant to help start the blaze, the cause of which will be determined by the fire department, police said.
The fire was quickly brought under control and no one was hurt.
Police have not yet ascribed a motive to the incident, but Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott denounced it as a "malicious arson attack."
Criticizing a "deliberate and brazen act of cowardice", the head of the conservative station promised that a new tree would be erected shortly in the same place, at the intersection of 6th Avenue and 48th Street, "as a message that there can be peace, light and joy even during a dark moment like this."
Fox News, said the tree was decorated with some 10,000 glass ornaments and 100,000 lights. The fire occurred a few blocks from another giant Christmas tree lit up since early December in front of Rockefeller Center, one of New York's top tourist attractions during the holiday season.