Adair, Paul

Adair, (Paul Neal) “Red”

(1915–  ) oil well problem specialist; born in Houston, Texas. He grew up in poverty, working in a drugstore and for the railroad. He worked for Myron Kinley (1939–59), putting out and capping oil well fires. In 1945, he dug up and disarmed unexploded shells in Japan. He established his worldwide reputation by extinguishing the Devil's Cigarette Lighter, a pillar of flame, fueled by 550 million cubic feet of gas a day, that had burned for six months in Algeria (1962). Fearless, he handled the Occidental Petroleum Company's platform disaster in the North Sea (1988) and extinguished oil well fires in Kuwait (1991).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.