Leonid Telyatnikov

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Leonid Petrovich Telyatnikov
Леонид Петрович Телятников
Leonid Telyatnikov (1951-2004).jpg
Born(1951-01-25)25 January 1951
Died2 December 2004(2004-12-02) (aged 53)
Resting placeBaikove Cemetery, Kyiv
EmployerChernobyl Nuclear Power Plant fire department, Ministry of the Interior of the USSR
OrganizationFire department of Kiev
Known forBravery during the Chernobyl Disaster.
AwardsHero of the Soviet Union

Leonid Petrovich Telyatnikov (Ukrainian: Леонід Петрович Телятніков; 25 January 1951 – 2 December 2004) was the head of the fire department at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and led the team of firefighters to the fire at reactor number 4 which became the Chernobyl disaster. Despite the radiological dangers, they had no radiation suits, no respirators, and no working dosimeters. From results of a blood test it was estimated he received 4 grays of radiation.[citation needed]

According to one source,[1] Telyatnikov headed the fire fighting effort at Chernobyl Reactor Unit 4 after the explosion on 26 April 1986. At that time Telyatnikov was the chief of military fire prevention at the Chernobyl nuclear-power station. Telyatnikov and his subordinates ascended the badly damaged and heavily radiation contaminated roof of Reactor Unit 4 more than once in order to prevent the fires from spreading and endangering Reactor Unit 3.

Another source gives a slightly different account:

Major Leonid Telyatnikov, the commander of Fire Station No. 2, was on holiday, but he lived in Prypiat and had received the alarm signal by telephone. He arrived at the reactor site about 10 minutes after the firemen had begun their battle and he then took overall command. He climbed onto the roof of Reactor Unit 3. Although there were at least five fires on the roof, the reactor was still operating. The priorities of the firemen were clear — they had to extinguish the fires on the roof of the undamaged reactor and in the machine hall. They used mainly water to do this. Despite their efforts, they could not prevent the fire from spreading before the Kiev fire brigade arrived to replace them.[2]

The President of the British Fire Services Association presenting the Order of Gallantry, for bravery, to Major Telyatnikov, the Commander of the Chernobyl Fire Brigade.

In 1987 Telyatnikov was named a Hero of the Soviet Union. Two of his subordinates, Vladimir Pravik and Viktor Kibenok, were given the award posthumously, as they died from acute radiation sickness soon after the disaster.

Telyatnikov continued his service in the Ministry of the Interior of the USSR, and, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, in Ukraine. In 1998, Telyatnikov headed the volunteer fire department of Kyiv, and designed the "Junior Firefighter" program. He died of cancer at the age of 53. His death has been attributed to radiation exposure[citation needed], and he is listed as a casualty of the Chernobyl disaster.[citation needed]

On 25 April 2006, the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, a monument was dedicated to him at the Baykove cemetery in Kyiv where he is buried.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Text to image of opening of a monument to Leonid Telyatnikov at Baykove cemetery in Kiev. Source Unian (access 23 July 2008)
  2. ^ Medvedev, Zhores A. (1990). The Legacy of Chernobyl. W. W. Norton & Company (paperback 1992). First American edition in 1990. ISBN 978-0-393-30814-3. page 42

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