Firefighter Red Adair dies at 89

He specialised in oil well fires and his company was most famously called in to help extinguish the fires set by retreating Iraqi troops during the 1991 Gulf War.

Mr Adair’s daughter Robyn said he died in hospital in Houston, Texas, on Saturday.

His exploits were the stuff of legend and took him from the Middle East to Australia to Mexico and the North Sea oil platforms with other stops in between.

There was so much interest in his work capping oil well blowouts and fires that John Wayne made a movie about his life called “Hellfighters.” Mr Adair served as a technical advisor on the 1968 production.

He was born in Houston in 1915 as Paul Adair – one of eight children – and later quit high school to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1936.

In 1938 he went into the oil industry, working in the oil fields as a casual labourer, before serving in a bomb disposal squadron of the US Army, following his induction 1945.

After the war, Mr Adair went to work for Myron Kinley, another pioneer of oil well fire-fighting, before forming his own company in 1959.

Red Adair Co. developed new techniques and equipment for fighting oil well fires and blowouts on land and at sea, where submersible fire-fighting vessels were first used.

Among his most notable feats was the capping in April 1962 of an oil well fire in the Sahara Desert known as the “Devil’s Cigarette Lighter” which had burned for 167 days and was so massive it could be seen by orbiting astronaut John Glenn in his space capsule.

Following the 1991 Gulf War, Adair, then 75, was called in to help extinguish fires at Kuwaiti oil wells set by retreating Iraqi troops.

His company managed to put out 117 oilwell fires as a job which had been expected to take three to five years was completed in just nine months.

Mr Adair, whose nickname came from a fondness for the colour red and who would sport red overalls on the job, sold Red Adair Co. in 1993 but continued to serve in the industry as a consultant.

Posted in 上海性息网