New York police have arrested a man suspected of deliberately setting fire to a giant Christmas tree in front of the headquarters of US television station Fox News.
The 49-year-old is now on trial for “arson” after he was caught around midnight (5:00 GMT Wednesday) climbing the structure that supports this 15-meter-high luminous tree installed in front of the US Governor’s Chain Building in The heart of Manhattan.
This tree was then set on fire, as seen in impressive TV footage from last night.
The arrested man had a “lighter” on him, but police do not know if he used any “catalyst” to start the fire that New York firefighters will determine the cause of, according to the NYPD.
The fire was quickly brought under control, and no one was injured.
The suspect’s motive has not been determined, but Fox News Media CEO Susan Scott denounced in a statement a “malicious arson attack.”
Criticizing a “deliberate, rude and cowardly act,” the president of the large conservative American television channel promised to soon plant a new tree in the same place, at the intersection of 6th Street and 48th Street, as a “message of peace, light and joy, even in a (also) dark moment.”
According to Fox News, the 15-meter-high tree is “adorned with 10,000 glass ornaments and 100,000 small lamps.”
The spectacular fire occurred a few blocks from another giant Christmas tree that has been lit since early December in front of Rockefeller Center, one of New York’s top tourist attractions for the holiday season.