Smoke was seen billowing from Big Tex's head on Friday morning, two days before the close of this year's fair. Flames quickly engulfed its body and torched its cowboy hat, face, torso and legs. "People are walking around the fairgrounds crying," fair spokeswoman Debbie Flatt said. "Big Tex is like family." The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical malfunction that started in the figure's boot, fair officials said in a statement.

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