Suspect in FOX News Christmas tree fire released after arraignment

The man suspected of lighting fire to a giant Christmas tree outside the FOX News Channel was arraigned and placed on supervised release, according to the NYPD.

Craig Tamanaha, 49, who is homeless, denied being responsible for the fire during his arraignment Wednesday. 

The artificial tree was set on fire just after midnight Wednesday. No injuries were reported.

Tamanaha faced several charges including arson, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, endangering others, criminal trespass, criminal tampering, and disorderly conduct.

The charges against him were not eligible for monetary bail. Tamanaha was due back in court on Jan. 4, 2022.

Security for the cable news network noticed the man climbing the tree in FOX News Square and alerted the NYPD. The suspect ran off when the cops arrived. He was taken into custody without incident, the NYPD said. 

Repairs to the destroyed tree totaled more than $500,000. Crews in Mount Vernon worked quickly to create a replacement so that FOX News could set up the new Christmas tree and hold an on-air tree lighting ceremony on Thursday evening.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said police know Tamanaha from previous drug and other incidents. Less than two weeks ago, cops picked him up for exposing himself to female reporters at a major press event and took him to Bellevue Hospital, sources told FOX 5 NY. Tamanaha was released within hours.

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