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TX: Big Tex BBQ’d from Electrical Fire

Dallas, TX: Big Tex, the beloved 52-foot-tall cowboy who’s watched over the State Fair of Texas for decades, caught on fire Friday morning and was quickly burnt to a crisp.  He was 60.

Big Tex is toast. The tallest talking Texan will no longer say “Hoooowwwdeee, fooolllllks!” at this year’s fair, which ends Sunday. But State Fair officials say the icon will be rebuilt in time for next year.

Hundreds gathered in Big Tex Circle to watch the big guy go up in flames. Many stood in tears. Others snapped pictures with their smartphones, spreading the news online as quickly as the fire spread up Big Tex. They reminisced about the good-lookin’ folksy fair mascot who first arrived at Fair Park in 1952.

No one was injured.  State Fair officials say the electrical fire was caused by an electrical short that started in his right boot. Flames and smoke shot up his body, which acted as a chimney, said Sue Gooding, a State Fair spokeswoman.

Gooding happened to walk by Big Tex when the fire started around 10:15 a.m. She spotted white smoke emerging from his collar.

“I didn’t know Big Tex smoked,” a fairgoer was overheard saying.

He doesn’t. Firefighters were sent to Fair Park by an unusual report from a Dallas Fire-Rescue dispatcher over the radio: “Got a rather tall cowboy with all his clothes burned off.”

“Big Tex was done in about 10 minutes,” said Allen Ferrell, who was visiting the fair with a church group from North Richland Hills.

The fire consumed Big Tex’s 75-gallon hat. It ate off his fiberglass face, which once flashed perfectly straight teeth. It burned through his boots, his five-pocket denim jeans and his 23-foot-long belt.

All that remained were his charred three-ton steel skeleton and his hands, sleeves, belt buckle and bits of burnt clothing.

Story via dallasnews.com

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