Three companies with contracts to snuff out hundreds of oil well fires in postwar Kuwait are being deluged with tel-ephone calls from thousands of job applicants.

But the companies say the firefighting teams that eventually will work in Kuwait have been formed for months and they are not hiring.Red Adair Co., perhaps the best known of the firms, has taken about 4,000 calls each day since early Monday. The company has hired two additional secretaries and installed four new telephone lines to handle the load.

"We had another 4,000 yesterday and today is not any different. Our lines are already all lit up," Diane Louison, secretary to famed firefighter Red Adair, said Wednesday. "It's just unbelievable."

At Boots & Coots, welder Joe Carpenter has been helping out the company's embattled receptionist.

"This is the craziest thing I've ever seen," said Carpenter, whose firm has talked to about 1,000 would-be employees.

Joe Bowden Jr., a well-capping expert at Wild Well Control, said he's received 75 resumes in addition to telephone calls.

"We have eight phone lines and they've been lit up for two days now," he said.

Louison says she has had to disappoint callers.

"People start the conversation and I ask if they're calling concerning employment," Louison said. "I say, `I'm sorry, we're not hiring.' "