International fire consultant David White of College Station received the prestigious Red Adair Award presented at 21st annual Tyco Williams Fire & Hazard Control XTREME Industrial Fire & Hazard Training in honor of his career in the field of industrial fire fighting.
“The greatest aspect of this award is its tie to Red,” White said. “I presented the first Red Adair Award to Red himself in 1991.”
Adair, who died in August 2004 at age 89, was a highly respected leader in the specialized field of oil well fire fighting. 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.
White, a former instructor at the Texas A&M Fire School, is the owner of Fire & Safety Specialists, a training and consulting firm that has done work in China, India, Libya, South Africa and other foreign countries. He also took an active role in handling logistics for the 1989 Pasadena, TX, chemical plant explosion and fire.
He is also the publisher of Industrial Fire World magazine, the only U.S. publication concerned strictly with response to industrial emergencies.
The award’s inscription states:
“In recognition of his efforts, passion, contributions and valued work over many years, this award is presented with distinction by the industrial fire protection fraternity to world renown firefighter and educator David White.”
White gained Adair’s permission to use his name for a new award honoring leaders in industrial fire fighting and emergency response. He then surprised Adair with the first award ever presented.
“Red was already famous for extinguishing the Devil’s Cigarette Lighter in the Sahara in 1961 and the Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea,” White said. “Even having faced those kind of dangers, he was still shy about getting on stage.”
The latest Adair Award was given to White May 8 at a banquet in Beaumont, TX, marking the close of the annual training event drawing firefighters worldwide.
Presenting the award to White were two previous Red Adair recipients – Eric LaVergne, group director of technical sales for Tyco Williams Fire & Hazard Control, and Chauncey Naylor, director of training and emergency response operations for the company.
“We’re passing the torch, delivering the award to someone pretty special in the business,” Naylor said. “He has done so much for the industry of industrial fire fighting.”
White said he was more used to presenting awards than receiving them.
“We’d like to think that we brought you an opportunity to exchange information, to get involved and find out there is something new to be learned,” White said.
Lynn White, David’s wife and co-owner of IFW, was on hand for the presentation.
“I know that Red treasured the first Red Adair award that we gave him,” Lynn said. “And I know that David will always treasure this award because it comes from industrial emergency responders he has worked to represent since 1984.”