Stunned attendees at the State Fair of Texas witnessed the iconic Big Tex go up in flames Friday morning.
Some fabric that made up the towering structure's hand and sleeves could still be seen as firefighters gathered around the scorched area.
Big Tex's 75-gallon hat, 50-pound belt buckle and slow drawl -- "Howdy, folks!" -- have been greeting fair visitors since 1952. This year's fair, which closes Sunday, had been celebrating Big Tex's 60th birthday.
"It's a great loss for us because of its icon stature," fair spokeswoman Sue Gooding said.
Gooding said she didn't know the direct cause of the fire but did note electrical controls move Big Tex's mouth and head.
Gooding noted that no one was injured in the fire and added that she expects him to be back for next year's state fair.
"He'll be back, bigger and better than ever," she said.
"Dallas is about Big Things and #BigTex was symbolic of that. We will rebuild Big Tex bigger and better for the 21st Century," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said on Twitter.
Bill Bragg, the voice of Big Tex, said all the fair's safety measures were in place and no one was in any danger. Bragg says the fair will rebuild the iconic statue for next year's fair.
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