Red Adair
Reagan High School

Renowned American oil field firefighter


Paul Neal "Red" Adair (June 18, 1915 August 7, 2004) [1][2] [3] was a renowned American oil field firefighter. He became world famous as an innovator in the highly specialized and extremely hazardous profession of extinguishing and capping blazing, erupting oil wells, both land-based and offshore.

Adair was born in Houston, Texas, and attended Reagan High School. He began fighting oil well fires after returning from serving in a bomb disposal unit during World War II. Red started his career working for the MM Kinley Company, the "original" blowout/oil firefighting pioneer. He founded Red Adair Co., Inc., in 1959, and over his long career battled more than 2,000 land and offshore oil well, natural gas well, and similar spectacular fires. Red Adair gained global fame in 1962, when he tackled a fire at a gas field in the Sahara nicknamed the Devil's Cigarette Lighter, a 450-foot (137m) pillar of flame. In 1988, he helped put out the Piper Alpha oil rig fire. At age 75, Adair took part in extinguishing the oil well fires in Kuwait set by retreating Iraqi troops after the Gulf War in 1991. In 1978, Adair's top lieutenants Asger "Boots" Hansen and Ed "Coots" Matthews left to found competitor Boots & Coots International Well Control, Inc.

Red Adair retired in 1993, and sold his company The Red Adair Company to Global Industries. [4] His top employees (Brian Krause, Raymond Henry, Rich Hatteberg) left in 1994 and formed their own company, International Well Control (IWC). In 1997, IWC purchased the remnants of Boots and Coots and the company is now Boots & Coots/IWC.

The 1968 John Wayne movie Hellfighters was based upon the feats of Adair during the 1962 Sahara desert fire.

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