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Superior Fire Chief recognized with Red Adair Award

Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger, left, and Kollin Schade, Husky Energy refinery manager in Superior, pose for a photo after Panger was awarded the 2018 Red Adair Award by Industrial World Fire magazine Friday for the department’s response to the Husky fire and explosions. Courtesy of Industrial World Fire magazine
Superior Telegram
Industrial Fire World magazine honored Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger on Friday with its 2018 Red Adair Award in recognition of his department’s response to the April 26 fire and explosion that rocked the Husky Energy refinery in Superior.

“Honestly, by the size and heat of this thing, everybody knew it was going to be a long, long fire,” Panger said in the summer issue of Industrial Fire World.

An initial explosion in a catalytic cracking unit triggered a 15,000 barrel spill of hot asphalt that spread through the refinery nearly two hours before ignition, a preliminary report issued by the Chemical Safety Board states.

The award, presented during the International Association of Fire Chiefs Fire-Rescue International Conference and Expo in Dallas, recognizes leadership in dealing with industrial emergencies.

Kollin Schade, manager of the Superior refinery, attended the presentation.

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. “I presented the first Red Adair Award to Red himself in 1991.”