Two of the biggest names in industrial firefighting — Dwight Williams and Chris Ferrara — drew a standing room only crowd for a special dinner and ceremony held during the week of the annual industrial fire school at Texas A&M University.
“I feel very blessed and honored to be here,” Williams said. “I wanted to be available to say hello to you folks I have missed.”
Williams, former owner of Williams Fire & Hazard Control, was guest of honor for the dinner sponsored by Ferrara Fire Apparatus. Chris Ferrara, former president and CEO of Ferrara, introduced Williams to the audience of firefighters.
Williams took the opportunity to recall the early days of his firefighting career that stretches back to 1969. He traced the beginning of Williams F&GC reputation in storage tank firefighting to a November 1982 fire at Navajo Refinery in Artesia, NM.
“(Red) Adair was down there with three tanks on fire,” Williams said. “He started with one. We managed to put them all out in an hour and a half.”
With that and other Williams F&HC successes the era of big water for fire protection came to the chemical and petrochemical industry. The naysayers always countered with the same comment – “Where are you going to get the water for a 2,000 gpm nozzle?”
“The people who were supposed to know always insisted that all you needed was a 500 gpm nozzle,” Williams said. “That’s true if the biggest tank you’ve got is 60 feet.”
Today, nozzles used in industrial firefighting can be as large as 12,000 gpm, he said.
“Chris has got one apparatus that proportions foam at 12,000 gpm and you can use it remotely,” Williams said. “You don’t even need a self-educting nozzle for that.”
Ferrara announced in April that Ferrara Fire Apparatus had been sold to the REV Group. He continues to be involved with the company in an advisory role.
“We have been very successful and delivered quite a few pumps and systems to industrial facilities all around the country,” Ferrara said.