The stories of the liquidators (Part-3)

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The story of Ivan Shavrey

Shavrey Ivan Mikhailovich was born on January 3, 1956 in the village of Belaya Soroka in the Republic of Belarus. After demobilization, he got a job in the fire department of paramilitary fire-fighting detachment-2 for the protection of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Ivan Mikhailovich lived with his parents and two brothers in the village of Belaya Soroka on the border of Ukraine and Belarus. The brothers were strong, strong men. At home, they did housework and helped parents. The father of the family was an avid fisherman, and on this basis he met the then head of paramilitary fire-fighting detachment-2 at NPP Eropkin Fedor Ivanovich. Then the father advised the sons to take on the service. Ivan was the first to serve, right after the army. After 3 years, brother Leonid already served with him in one unit, and a little later their third brother Peter joined them.


April 25, 1986 was the most common day. I took guard on duty with my guard. The night was warm. We with the dispatcher and the orderly in the garage went outside for a smoke break. They stood talking about the spring being anomalously warm and early, that soon potatoes needed to be planted. It was very unexpected. An alarm is triggered on the central console. Our dispatcher Sergey Lyagun darted to the console and was stupefied. The first impression was as if the entire system of the opposite security was covered. Then we heard a dull clap. At first it was thought that it was a discharge of steam from the first stage. We were used to it and paid no attention. After I ran out into the street, I felt that everything started. There were two explosions somewhere inside the station, then it exploded with such force that all the roof ceilings over the fourth block turned into fraud. It was a fiery black ball, which was cheerful hundreds of meters above the reactor. The power of the explosion was so strong that reinforced concrete slabs scattered around the district for hundreds of meters. The dispatcher turned on the alarm, and we went there ...

Volodya Pravik, the head of our guard, and my brother Lenya ran into the engine room for reconnaissance in order to determine how to lay fire hoses and supply water. Absolutely all dry pipes were torn. Each of us grabbed four skeins of sleeves and climbed the 71st level along the external stairs of the third block building. It was the roof of the fourth reactor in row A. At that moment, the flame spread to the roof of the third power unit. Pravik gave the order to go to row "B". Immediately, the guard of the paramilitary fire-fighting detachment 6 from Pripyat arrived to replace us, and we went down, traveled around the block and again went up to the roof. It was hell. It was very hot due to the high temperature, almost nothing was visible due to strong smoke. Around the fire, and underfoot pieces of hot reactor graphite.


From about an hour, we were there until we became ill. Before my eyes everything began to swim, I felt very dizzy. I remember how Valera Dasko ran up to me, and my brother Petya shouted that we were going down. Ambulances were already waiting there. But it was not before that. I rushed to row "A" to my fire hoses for which I was responsible. The guys from Kibenok's guard were already naked. The tunics took off, they were already feeling bad. Kibenok himself, Vasya Ignatenka and Vaschuk were dragged down from there.

I then patted Ignatenka's cheeks so that he would come to his senses, and he would vomit terribly. I asked him how is he? He was already able to answer me with a hoarse voice, "everything is fine, now I’ll get out." Then I realized that I was starting to swim. My eyes darkened. They also dragged me down in the arms afterwards. While we were going to the Pripyat medical unit, we were vomiting terribly, without stopping. In hospital 126 we were immediately sent to the shower and there I began to lose consciousness and almost did not think anything.

Almost immediately, we were sent to Moscow, to the sixth hospital. There, I once managed to get into the chamber to my commander, Volodya Pravik. When I went into the ward, I saw a sight not for the faint of heart. Volodya was covered with a sheet. Parts of the body that were not covered were all black, his lips were swollen. A few days later he died. He was the only one who died from our guard. Apparently due to the fact that he went into the reactor hall, he grabbed a huge dose. All the guys were dying a terrible death ... I spent a week unconscious and suffered three crises. After that, our doctor Alexandra Fedorovna Shemardina came to me, it was unexpected, she congratulated me on my birthday. Unexpectedly, for the reason that my birthday is in early January. After her words that I will live, I could not hold back my tears.

I swear to the friends of my victims that I am telling the truth. Somewhere a month before the accident, I arrived in my native village of White Soroki. And at night I dreamed ... Virgin Mary. Something is inconceivable huge, dazzlingly shining. I saw neither the contours of the figure, nor the face, but I, a thirty-year-old and distant from religion guy, for some reason immediately realized that this is the Virgin. Apparently it was a sign.

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