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Impostor Offers Help with Runaway Well

November 15, 1985

RANGER, Texas (AP) _ Officials battling a runaway gas well near this Texas Panhandle town got some help from a man who turned out to be an impostor.

The man who showed up last week claimed to work for Paul ″Red″ Adair, internationally known for fighting oil-field fires and blowouts.

But the knight in red coveralls was an impostor, Adair said.

″They had a good con artist down there but he had no ties with us,″ Adair told the Abilene Reporter-News on Thursday.

Adair said several people have attempted to impersonate him or pass themselves off as his employees. ″I don’t know why they do it. Maybe they want the glory. We’re the best in the business.″

Ray Richey, owner of the well, had hired another oil well firefighting team. Richey said he ran the impostor off, but whoever he is, officials said he would be welcome again.

″If he’s an impostor, I hope he comes around again, if we have another one of these, because he sure did help,″ said Ranger police Capt. John Mackey. The man helped with evacuations and located dangerous gas pockets for emergency workers, Mackey said.

Crews worked today to lay pipelines to carry oil and gas safely away from the well, which blew out Nov. 6, forcing evacuations and road closings. An upright pipe was installed Thursday to carry gas high into the air where it is being burned.

Eastland County Deputy Sheriff H.T. Fillingim said the man ″came in Thursday night and said he worked part time for Red Adair.″

″He said he goes to fires in his area, checks to see what the situation was and what was needed.″

The man wore red coveralls with Red Adair patches, and knew about blowouts, Fillingim said.

″The name on the patch wasn’t the same name he gave us,″ Fillingim said. ″But he said everything he had was borrowed, and his stuff was in Dallas.

″I didn’t think much about it. He knew what he was talking about,″ he added.

Officials probably would not work to find out who the man is ″unless there is some followthrough with Red Adair - that is, if Adair complains - because he (impostor) did not commit a criminal offense here. There was just an impersonation,″ said Jerry Heflin, chief deputy in the Eastland County sheriff’s office.

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