This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. “Big Tex,” the iconic figure that has greeted people arriving at the annual Texas for 60 years, caught fire and burned this morning. Only the statute’s metal frame, hands and belt buckle remained intact.
Mitchell Glieber, vice president of marketing for the State Fair, said it appears the fire was started by an electrical short circuit. “There’s obviously some electronics inside of Big Tex that leads to the ability for his mouth to move when he speaks,” Glieber said. “I believe there was an electrical short, but that hasn’t been confirmed or investigated.”
Nearly six hours after smoke began pouring out of Tex, State Fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding confirmed the theory – and that it began in his boots.
“At this point, investigators believe the fire was caused by an electrical short that started in his right boot,” she wrote in a statement.
Dallas Fire and Rescue responded quickly and put the fire out within a matter of minutes. However, those at the scene said it only took around 5 minutes for the blaze to swallow the 52-foot-tall structure. Police evacuated the area immediately surrounding the figure, even though few people had been nearby when the fire started. No one was injured.
“Big Tex” was originally created as a 49-foot tall Santa Claus in Kerens, Texas. The State Fair of Texas bought it for $750 and transformed it into “Big Tex.” The fair will remain open until this Sunday, when it was scheduled to close.