chernobylffA former Ukraine firefighter has paid a visit to colleagues in Saltash to share his first-hand experiences of the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster.

Petr Makarenko (pictured with Saltash station manager Paul Blakeston) was working as a firefighter at the Chernobyl nuclear plant at the time of the 1986 reactor fire.

Off duty on the day of the fire, Petr returned to the plant with his crew the next day and remained at the scene for the next five days. He was forced to leave the plant when he had to be hospitalised after receiving an overdose of radiation.

Brought home the bravery of Chernobyl
One of a group of former Chernobyl firefighters who were invited to the UK by the charity Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, Petr joined Saltash firefighters and local fire cadets during drill night. Welcoming him to the station, the fire cadets gave a display of firefighting techniques, while the crews gave him a tour of the station and equipment.

“We all remember the Chernobyl disaster, but to hear such a personal account really brought home the bravery of those involved,” said Rachel Hoare, Community Fire Safety Advisor from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service. “Petr enjoyed watching the drills and was keen to learn more about our firefighting equipment.”

For more on Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service's links with Chernobyl Children's Lifeline visit