August 9, 2004 by

Red Adair


Categories: Business, Military

Paul Neal “Red” Adair, a world-renowned firefighter who specialized in snuffing burning oil wells, died on Aug. 7 of natural causes. He was 89.
The Houston native dropped out of high school to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Otis Pressure Control Company. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945 and served with the 139th Bomb Disposal Squadron during World War II.
After returning to the states, Adair learned how to control oil well fires from Myron Kinley, a pioneer in the field. In 1959, Adair went into business for himself and began developing several effective Wild Well Control techniques. His specially designed gear became essential in controlling raging oil well fires; it was known throughout the industry as the “Rolls Royce of Firefighting Equipment.” Over the next four decades, he and his company battled more than 2,000 land and offshore oil well fires all over the world, including the hundreds of oil wells set ablaze during the first Persian Gulf War.
Nicknamed the “Hellfighter,” Adair was proud of the fact that he never lost a single employee in a firefighting endeavor. His daring and expertise were chronicled in the biography “An American Hero: The Red Adair Story” by Philip Singerman, and in the 1968 John Wayne movie “The Hellfighters.”

4 Responses to Red Adair

  1. donald polke

    I never met mr. Adair.But i worked with two of his men when they came to Egypt in ’80-’81.It was awhile back.But these men were two of the nicecest men and most knowledgable persons that i have worked with.If mr. Adair was the example these men portrayed then he was one hell of a man.It was a privaledge to work with these men.
    Keep up the good work

  2. Chuck Leonard

    I met Mr. Adair in Kuwait in 91
    He sponsored our crew from Halliburton.
    He always stayed in touch and sat with us at chow to get ideas and solve problems.
    It was only after we finished the project that I realized He was THE RED ADAIR not just another member of the team.
    I lost a teacher a leader and a friend.
    I no longer work in the oilfeild but I apply what I learned from him everyday.
    Godspeed Red

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