20 October 2012

Big Tex Burns: Fire Destroys Texan Cultural Icon

It was going to be his 60th birthday but yesterday Big Tex, the 52-foot tall statue was a reduced to a charred metal frame.

Somehow a fire started inside the statue’s structure and within minutes Big Tex’s face, hat and clothing were destroyed.

Although an investigation will take place to determine whether there was any foul play it is widely believed that the fire was started by an electrical fault.

Smoke was first seen coming from his neck and this very quickly erupted in to a mass of flame. In just a few minutes the fire spread, leaving no time for any fire fighters to reach the inferno before Big Tex was consumed.

These amazing photographs, taken by Flickr photographer greychr (aka Christian Bradford) show the speed at which one of Texan’s most iconographic structures met its demise.

Theories about how the fire started are beginning to abound. In 1997 skeletal frame of the 52-foot tall statue was made over with over four thousand feet of steel rods placed to support the structure. Big Tex’s posture was attuned and a new hand enabled him to wave to the fair goers as they passed. His head remained the same original, but in 2000 there was a new system fitted to his neck which allowed it to turn.

As well as the neck animatronics another new feature allowed his head to turn and the mouth also underwent an upgrade.  It is possible, looking at these photographs, that the fire started in the neck or lower face area.

Yet Texans never let a setback deter them. Texas State Fair officials have vowed that Big Tex will be back, bigger and better, for the next fair in 2013.

All pictures by Flickr User greychr
RIP Photo Image Source