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Christmas Tree Set To Be Replaced After Fire Outside FOX News Building In Midtown

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Christmas tree set ablaze early Tuesday morning in Midtown is set to be replaced Wednesday night with a ceremonial tree lighting.

The fire happened around midnight right outside the News Corporation building at the corner of West 48th Street and Sixth Avenue. The building is home to FOX News Channel, The Wall Street Journal and New York Post.

Police said FOX News security saw a man climbing the 50-foot artificial tree, which was decorated in lights and ornaments for the holidays. When officers arrived, the man was allegedly running from the scene.

"That's crazy, it was such a beautiful tree," one person in the area told CBS2.

"I took a picture of it yesterday before I went home, and it was looking nice," Warren Monk said. "And I came this morning, and it was burned down."

Police arrested Craig Tamanaha, who is homeless, on several charges, including arson and reckless endangerment. He allegedly had a lighter, but it's unclear if any accelerant was used.

The FDNY put out the flames, and no one was hurt.

"It is heartbreaking. This is a joyous season," said tourist Teresa Rawe. "We don't need anything to take us down right now."

Crews spent the morning taking down what was left of the tree.

"This has become a new wonderful tradition on FOX Square over the last three years. We will not let this deliberate and brazen act of cowardice deter us," FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott wrote in an internal memo. "We are in the process of building and installing a new tree as a message that there can be peace, light and joy even during a dark moment like this."

Investigators said they believe the suspect was emotionally disturbed and acted alone. Officers said the incident does not appear to be premediated or politically motivated.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis contributed to this report, which first appeared on Dec. 8.

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