KEY POINTS

  • The tree at Fox Square in New York City was set ablaze shortly after midnight
  • Flames quickly spread up the tree outside the 6th Avenue building housing Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and New York Post
  • The fire destroyed a large section of the 50-foot tree that was jazzed up with red, blue and white ornaments

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has apprehended a man suspected of setting fire to a giant Christmas tree in front of News Corporation Building shortly after midnight Wednesday.

The Christmas tree at Fox Square in New York City was set ablaze by an unidentified suspect and the fire quickly spread up the tree near the 6th Avenue building that houses Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and New York Post. 

The fire destroyed a large section of the 50-foot tree that was jazzed up with red, blue and white ornaments, New York Post reported. The flames damaged three other surrounding trees decorated with Christmas lights, according to the outlet.

Videos of the incident have since made rounds online. One of them showed police gathered around the burning tree, which remained lit amid the fire. Several roads around the area were blocked and traffic was redirected.

The NYPD arrested a man near the tree while the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) controlled the blaze. Police have not yet confirmed if the man who was taken into custody was the same person who started the fire.

The FDNY successfully put out the fire, reported NBC New York. A livestream of the incident showed black smoke billowing from the charred remains of the tree. 

"The fire appears to be out for now. Moments ago, you could see it was engulfed in flames. No word of any injuries there. We saw the crews there, bravely fighting through this," Shannon Bream of Fox News said in an update

The exact cause of the fire remains unclear. Police are investigating the incident. 

In a similar incident, a 52-feet-tall Christmas tree at the Jack London Square Oakland, California, was set on fire around 1.20 a.m. Monday. The fire department, which was 200 years away from the scene, noticed the blaze and put it out within minutes. Less than 10% of the tree sustained damage. Officials believe there is no risk of it falling over. 

A pedestrian walks past a line of police cars parked at Times Square in New York This is a representational image of a police car. Photo: Reuters

Rockefeller Christmas Tree People are pictured walking past the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center on Dec. 1, 2017 in New York. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images