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Paul "Red" Adair, the flamboyantly named oil-fire expert whose dash far outstripped his name, died last night of natural causes in a Houston hospital. Adair spent most of the 20th century fighting -- and beating -- the largest oil fires in the world, capping his career with an audacious and tremendously successful effort to avert the environmental and economic catastrophe that Saddm set off in Kuwait:
Red Adair gained global fame in 1962, when he tackled a fire at a gas field in the Sahara - a feat later retold in the John Wayne film Hellfighters.
He also grabbed headlines quenching blazing Kuwaiti oil wells in 1991.
And in 1988 he fought the explosion of the Piper Alpha platform in the North Sea which killed 167 men. ...
[H]is expertise in 1991 putting out the blazing oil wells in Kuwait that had been set alight by retreating Iraqi forces was credited with preventing an environmental catastrophe. He took nine months to complete an operation that it had been estimated would take three to five years.
Sometime soon, we should get an opportunity to learn more about this American original, a roughneck who took a dangerous labor and turned it into a profession, a science, and then an art. His life seems ready-made for a biographer, and I'll bet they're lining up to start. (Heck, I'd love a shot at that job!) I have no comment to make about the status of Adair's soul, since I never knew the man, but God has an eye for talent -- and I wouldn't be the least surprised if Red isn't drafting new ways to fight the fires of Hell. He's seen enough of it here in this world to know his stuff.
Godspeed, and thank you Red. Our prayers are with your family.Sphere It View blog reactions
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