"Fires of Hell"

(Original air date 01/30/77)


Steve is sent to investigate dubious explosions on an OSI experimental oil-drilling field


Writer: Orville H. Hampton

Director: Ed Abroms

When another oilrig fire occurs on the OSI experimental drilling site, Oscar sends Steve over to the Stoney Creek Reserve to investigate. On the way to his destination he saves the life of ecologist Alison Harker (Heather Menzies) when the breaks of her jeep fail on a downhill slope.


Following a brief chat regarding her conservation movement opposed to the oil drilling within the reserve, Steve continues his journey to the site where he meets with head geologist Roy Palmer (Ken Swofford) who hires him to work on the rigs. Palmer has doubts about Steve Brett’s real identity when he sees him roam around the burnt rig. His suspicion grows when he spots Steve with a charred piece of a home-made bomb that he finds amidst the debris.


He contacts his associate Congressman Bert Lomax (Charles Aidman) in Washington to report the new guy. Lomax warns him to be wary of his every move for if this man is an OSI agent, that means Oscar has doubts about the fires being accidental. They cannot afford any foul up before the experimental drilling deadline in three days. Once that delay expired they will be able to dig at will and get rich off a lode of uranium. He suggests arranging a little accident to get rid of the annoying guy.

In order to smooth out Oscar’s ruffled feathers, Lomax pays him a visit to discuss a heap of letters and petitions his office received from active environmentalists who are vehemently opposed to the drilling. Oscar proposes to go meet with the members on site and asks Lomax to come along.


Meanwhile Steve steps into his role of an oil-field roughneck and gets to work on a rig, unaware that Palmer has hired two workers to drop a heavy beam onto him. Thanks to his bionic arm Steve avoids being squashed like a bug.


Later, at the local bar, Steve meets with Alison who, with her friend Susie (Melinda Claire Naud), is working at gathering support for their cause. He shows her the piece of evidence that proves the oilrig fire was no accident. She resents his accusation that she would go as far as use explosives to stop the drilling on the reserve.

He returns to the bar where two hired thugs try to needle him into a fight. When he walks away, they jump him. The two are no match for Steve who ends up licking the floor with them just as Sheriff Burgess (Bruce Glover) conveniently shows up to put the cuffs on him.


First stop on the way to the oil field is the sheriff’s office where Oscar is introduced to Burgess. After Oscar gets rid of the two men on the pretext of wanting to make a private phone call, Steve fills him in on the latest developments, including the fixed fight that landed him in jail, no doubt to keep him from under foot. He believes Palmer and the sheriff are working in connivance and asks for his boss’s consent to break out of jail in order to investigate the matter further.


Steve asks Alison to allow him to hide out at her camp while he continues his investigation. Moments later the sheriff shows up to enquire about the escaped prisoner but the girl refuses to snitch on the man who saved her life.

Lomax puts on a convincing show by reassuring the ecologists that he won’t be renewing the drilling concession past the deadline, and that thereafter he intends to decree Stoney Creek a national reserve. Oscar won’t buy his act and neither will Steve who tries to reason with Alison that Lomax is a scum who will likely use that land for some other purposes.


Another blast echoes in the distance. On site the men plan to use nitro to stop the blazing inferno. During the procedure Palmer gets caught in the path of a bulldozer, but luckily Steve is quick to spot him and gets him to safety before the explosion.


Palmer is grateful to his savior. He now had twinges of conscience and won’t go along with Lomax’s scheme anymore. OSI agent or not the crooked statesman has no intention of jeopardizing his investment, which will allow him to gain access to the precious lode of uranium. Palmer believes another fire will surely look suspicious and he draws the line at killing people.

Faced with his associate’s refusal to cooperate, Lomax requests the sheriff to arrest the men for illegal drilling, including Palmer. Burgess locks them in the back of a truck, unaware that up on the hill Alison has witnessed the entire scene.


She runs back to Steve to warn him of the situation. Meanwhile another oilrig is set ablaze. This time, the sheriff blocks access to the site to the firefighters. Steve then volunteers to carry the nitro up to the fire.


On the way he throws a small vial of nitro to distract the sheriff’s attention. This premature blast leads Oscar and Alison to believe their friend is dead, much to Lomax’s satisfaction.


Steve gains access to the site and releases the workers. Palmer is now more than willing to oblige Steve in his task. He whips up a makeshift bomb in a flashlight, with instructions to switch it on ten seconds before throwing the nitro into the fire. Once within a safe distance from the burning oilrig, Steve hurls the bag of nitro into the blazing inferno with the blast killing the fire instantly.

Once the bad guys in custody, Steve and Oscar bid farewell to Alison and her gang who are now embracing a new cause to prevent anyone from touching the natural beauty of Stoney Creek Reserve. For his part Oscar chides Steve for pulling that nitro stunt that nearly killed him of a heart attack.


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