Myron M. Kinley (1898-1978);
The 'Father' of Oil Well Firefighting & Blowout Control
Much of the film used in this video is very old and was originally shot on 8 MM format and converted to digital for production purposes; the quality is not very good, unfortunately.
Please note in this video that shot canisters (drums of explosives) used to extinguish well fires in the early years were actually placed at the base of a fire, in what is called the "mixing chamber" by carrying the can, or drum, in to the well by hand or by pushing the can into the fire via a trolley system. Both methods are shown in this film. The viewer must take a moment, close one's eyes, take a deep breath and imagine the balls these guys had to do what they did with unstable explosives.
By the early 1930's Kinley developed the use of Athey tracks to build a long boom that would be facilitate more precise shot placement.
There is actual footage in this video of a fire in Gladewater, Texas in 1931 where Kinley broke his ankle. Myron broke the same ankle and leg two more times in his career and was essentially left with a bad limp. It was this bad leg that prevented him from running from a Venezuelan blowout in 1942-1943 that caught fire while he was working on it. He was badly burned by that fire and spent six months in a hospital. On the Gladewater job his brother Floyd, along with others, can be seen carrying Myron away. Five years later Floyd was killed on a blowout in Goliad County.
Young Red Adair can be seen briefly in the clip, around 1948-49, not long after he was hired by Kinley.
Myron Kinley spent nearly 40 years teaching the entire world how to fight oil well fires and control blowing wells; many of the well control techniques Kinley developed 90 years ago are still being used today. Adair, Boots Hansen, Coots Matthews and Richard Hatteberg were all taught the business of oil well firefighting by Myron "Mac" Kinley.
Kinley's role in the protection of the worldwide oil and natural gas industry is unparalleled in history. Simply put, the oil and gas industry could have not succeeded without him. Adair often gets all the credit, but Kinley was the man that led the way.