A 50-foot-tall Christmas tree caught fire outside Fox News headquarters in New York City early Wednesday, sparking a race to extinguish it and leading to an arrest.
The tree had been ceremonially lit on the network’s “All-American” Christmas special on Sunday. One of the network’s presenters announced the fire on a live broadcast.
“This is Fox Square in New York, outside of Fox headquarters,” said host, Shannon Bream, told the viewers shortly after midnight. “It looks like our giant Christmas tree there, just a couple of minutes ago, was completely engulfed in flames.”
A few minutes later, when a live broadcast showed smoke billowing over the tree, Ms Bream said the fire appeared to have gone out. “But we are going to monitor the situation to try to find out what caused all this,” he added. A Fox News representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment overnight.
New York Police Department Detective Adam Navarro said the fire started around 12:15 a.m. and caused no injuries. It said a 49-year-old man was in custody in connection with the fire, but no other details were immediately available.
Fox reported this month that the tree, on the Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, was 50 feet tall and had been decorated with 10,000 ornaments and 100,000 lights. Last weekend’s lighting ceremony was part of an annual tradition that began in 2019.
MK Illumination, a company that specializes in “holiday lighting concepts” for municipalities and corporate clients around the world, lists Fox News as a corporate client. The company says on its website that the 2019 Fox Square Christmas tree was 30 feet tall and surrounded by Nutcracker statues.
MK Illumination did not respond to a request for comment on whether it was in charge of lighting the Fox News Christmas tree this year or what may have caused the fire.
Officials in Oakland, California, said this week they were investigating an episode in which at least one person set fire to a 52-foot Christmas tree in Jack London Square early Monday morning. A spray can was found near the tree after the fire was out, The Sacramento Bee reported.
Chicago authorities are also investigating the apparent arson of a Christmas tree in Washington Square for the third year in a row.
Steve Doocy, a Fox News host, said on Fox News over the weekend that the network’s giant Christmas tree had helped create a festive atmosphere at its Midtown headquarters.
“When we walk in at 3 and 4 in the morning, Monday through Friday, to go to work, the music is so orchestral, so dramatic and so great, it puts you in the Christmas spirit,” said Doocy.
At 2 a.m. Wednesday, a live feed of the charred and darkened tree was still available on the broadcaster’s website. The Christmas music of the orchestra was playing.