Mesa Replaces Christmas Tree After Suspected Arson

Published: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 - 3:23pm
(Photo courtesy City of Mesa)
The Mesa Chamber of Commerce snagged an end-of-season deal on the new 34 foot artificial Christmas tree.
(Photo courtesy Mark Svoboda)
Mesa spokesman Steven Wright estimates 60 to 70 percent of the tree was damaged in the blaze, but it's considered a total loss.

Less than a week after fire ravaged Mesa’s glowing four-story artificial Christmas tree, an identical twin has been restored in its place.

Early in the morning last Wednesday police suspect Samuel Antone Johnson sparked the blaze with matches. Johnson was apprehended near the tree and admitting to starting the fire.

The city secured a smaller live tree to take the place of the $35,000 icon and has since moved that tree to the newly remodeled Pioneer Park.

The Mesa Chamber of Commerce was able to replace the artificial tree Monday thanks to donations from people around the country. The organization still seeks a few thousand dollars, according to a press release from the city.

Though the new tree is identical to the one lost through it cost about $10,000 less in an end-of-season sale.

On Monday, more than 40 volunteers installed the towering tree decked with lights and ornaments.

Merry Main Street is open through January 5, 2018. This Friday visitors who bring  four cans or packages of non-perishable food to donate at the tree will receive a $2 discount on ice skating. The food will be donated to the United Food Bank.

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