Coots Matthews Exhibit

Edward "Coots" Matthews was native of Porter, Texas.

He fought in World War II in th Air Force as a gunner on a B-17 bomber. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, three Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart and two Presidential Unit Citation.

After the war, he joined blowout/oil well firefighting pioneer Myron Kinlet's company in 1957. After one year, he left to join the Red Adair Company, Inc. In 1978, Matthews and "Boots" Hansen started their own company, Boots and Coots, Inc. Following the Gulf War, their company put out 128 oil well fires in Kuwait.

Oil well fires are difficult to extinguish due to the enormous fuel supply for the fire. A high-pressure blowout frequently causes them during drilling, which results in an enormous fire surrounded by the remains of the drilling equipment.

The most common method to extinguish the fire is to use explosives, such as dynamite, to create a shockwave that pushes the burning fuel and oxygen away from the well. Trying to get close to the base of an oil well fire is dangerous, and many men have lost their lives from the fire or falling debris.

Edward "Coots" Matthews (1923-2010)

Other Pioneers of Oil Well Firefighting:

Myron Kinley

Myron M. Kinley (1898-1978) was the original pioneer in the field of fighting oil well fires. He served in the U. S. Army during WOrld War I. Kinley established the oil well firefighting industry and trained many of the well-known people in the trade, including Paul "Red" Adair, Edward "Coots" Matthews, and Asger "Boots" Hansen. Virtually every oil well firefighting organization can trace their roots back to Myron Kinley.

Paul "Red" Adair

Paul "Red" Adair (1915-2007) served in a U. S. Army bomb disposal unit during World War II. He worked for the original pioneer in oil well firefighter Myron Kinley, using his bomb disposal training to improve the ability to put out oil well fires.He developed so many specialized methods for extinguishing and capping oil well blowouts that his name becamse synonymous with the profession. His life is the loose inspiration for the 1968 John Wayne movie Hellfighters.

Asger "Boot" Hansen

Asger "Boot" Hansen (1926-2019) is a Houston native. He served in the U. S. Navy submarine service during World War II. After the war, he started as a driver for oil well firefigther Paul "Red" Adair. Adair taught Hansen how to fight oil well fires, and he joined Myron Kinley's oil well firefighting company. Hansen left Kinley's company in 1959 to join the newly formed Red Adair Company. He and Edward "Coots" Matthews started their own company in 1978. Boots and Coots soon became the leading well control company in the world.

The Coots Matthews exhibit includes several items from Boots and Coots, as well as Coots's firefighting outfit and travel suitcase.