Fire destroys Christmas goat in Sweden

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iol pic bp xmas goat _sweden1 AFP File photo: The Christmas straw goat.

Stockholm -

A 13-metre-high straw Christmas goat was destroyed by fire overnight in the Swedish city of Gavle, local media reported on Thursday.

Web camera images showed the burned remains of the black wooden skeleton of the goat in the city north of Stockholm.

Three unknown assailants were seen inside the enclosure shortly before the midnight blaze.

Firefighters had earlier on Wednesday evening doused the goat with water to create a protective ice sheet.

The tradition of erecting a giant version of the traditional Swedish Christmas symbol in the city dates back to 1966.

iol pic bp xmas goat _sweden2 File photo: The Christmas straw goat, torched by vandals in Gaevle, Sweden on December 21, 2004. AFP

Attempts to burn it are just as old, and it has been burned about two dozen times. The first time was on New Year's Eve 1966.

On a website dedicated to the goat, a tweet read: “The last hour is here. I'm sorry to leave you now. Thank you my friends for this year! I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!” - Sapa-dpa

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