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.
Leonid Petrovich Telyatnikov
Леонид Петрович Телятников
|Died||2 December 2004 (aged 53)|
|Resting place||Baikove Cemetery, Kyiv|
|Employer||Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant fire department, Ministry of the Interior of the USSR|
|Organization||Fire department of Kiev|
|Known for||Bravery during the Chernobyl Disaster.|
|Awards||Hero of the Soviet Union|
According to one source, 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.
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, and he is listed as a casualty of the Chernobyl disaster.
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.
- (ru) Leonid Petrovich Telyatnikov by Nicolai Vasilevich Ufarkin at Geroi Strani.
- (en) Late Chernobyl fireman's blood tests to be disclosed, Japan Times, April 19, 2006
- (en) Opening of Telyatnikov's monument at Baykove from UNIAN