Today’s story of fire on a oil rig (thankfully no one was injured) reminded me of the classic oil well fighters Red Adair and his side kick Ansger “Boots” Hansen. Boots Hansen in particular became a strange folk hero at the time of the piper alpha tragedy at our school, partly because we had a kid called Hansen in our class but also Boots is a cool name and it was on newsround every day.
Boots Hansen struck a particular chord with me and my brothers, as one of our favourite films was John Wayne’s Hellfighters 1968, which was a fictionalised version of the life of Red Adair. This late 60’s tosh for some reason appealed to us , we drew pictures of the strange cranes they used to fight the fires. It was Thunderbirds but with real people! I think we also liked the fact they blew out the fires with explosives which being pyromaniacs we thought was cool. It’s funny what you think of watching the news.