Industrial Fire World magazine honored Superior, WI Fire Chief Steve Panger with its 2018 Red Adair Award in August in recognition of his department’s response to the April 26 fire and explosion that rocked the Husky Energy refinery in Superior.
“Thank you to Industrial Fire World magazine for keeping the legacy of Red Adair alive,” Panger said. “It’s people like Red who have made advancements in the world of industrial firefighting that definitely make our job safer today.”
A preliminary report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board states that an initial explosion in a catalytic cracking unit at Husky Energy triggered a 15,000 barrel spill of hot asphalt that spread nearly two hours before ignition. (See “Collateral Damage” in the Summer 2018 issue of IFW).
The award, presented during the International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire-Rescue International Conference and Expo in Dallas, TX, recognizes leadership in dealing with industrial emergencies.
Kollin Schade, plant manager of the Husky refinery, attended the presentation. Also on hand Tom Peterson, terminal supervisor for Embridge Energy, and Scott Gordon, battalion chief for the Superior Fire Department.
In particular, Gordon has been a key to becoming “more proficient in industrial firefighting,” Panger said.
Extinguishing the refinery fire was a team effort involving both the Superior F.D. and the emergency response team at Husky Energy, he added.
Schade told the audience that Panger “epitomizes what Red Adair stood for from a leadership standpoint.”
Adair, who died in August 2004 at age 89, was a highly respected leader in the specialized field of oil well firefighting. His lengthy career was capped in 1991 when he took a lead role in extinguishing the many oil well fires in Kuwait set by the retreating Iraqi army after the Gulf War.
“The greatest aspect of this award is its tie to Red,” IFW publisher David White said when the award was announced. “I presented the first Red Adair Award to Red himself in 1991.”