Big Tex, State Fair icon, bursts into flame

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Big Tex caught fire this morning at the State Fair, which had marked his 60-year anniversary as part of the Texas fair.

Onlookers quickly posted photos as the 52-foot icon’s clothes erupted into flames. Though fire crews arrived on the scene, Tex’s clothes had already been incinerated, and only his metal framework, sleeves, and belt buckle remained.

Sally Wamre, an official at the state fair, said that the electrical components that make Tex move and say “Howdy” most likely failed, causing an electrical short in his right boot. Her statement has not yet been confirmed by the fire marshal. The fire caused by the short quickly spread over his 65 pound jeans as well as his shirt, eventually reaching his head and 75 gallon hat.

No one was injured in the fire and the fair will remain open till Sunday, when it was already set to end.

Big Tex has been removed from the circle he is normally erected in by the large crane that sets him up each year and placed in an area at the rear of the fair. Tex’s face, clothes, pants, boots and hat will need replacing, but Wamre says he will be restored for next year’s fair.

Officials say that Tex was very old, and they may take the chance to construct a bigger, more modern version.