Today I received sad news from Belarus.
On November 20, 2020, the hero-firefighter Ivan Mykhailovych Shavrey passed away. In 1986, he was not overcome by radiation, or by radiation sickness, but in 2020 the cursed coronavirus took his life.
Ivan Mikhailovich Shavrey was born on January 3, 1956 in the village of Bila Soroka, Narovlya District, Gomel Region, Byelorussian SSR.
He grew up in a friendly Belarusian family with many children: three brothers and three sisters. After completing his military service in the Armed Forces of the USSR in 1977, he went to work in the fire brigade – he was placed in the fire department responsible for the protection of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. His native village of Bila Soroka was located 13 km from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. First, a firefighter, senior firefighter, assistant instructor of prevention of 26-HPV for the protection of Chernobyl.
In 1986, 30-year-old Ivan Shavrey was a senior sergeant of the internal service, a firefighter of the paramilitary fire department №2 for the protection of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Along with him in the same fire department are two of his brothers – the eldest – Leonid and the youngest – Peter. By fate, all three brothers were on combat duty on the night of the accident, extinguished a nuclear fire, received large doses of radiation, radiation sickness of various degrees, but survived.
Ivan Mykhailovych Shavrey arrived at the crash site at 1 o’clock as part of the second division of Lieutenant Volodymyr Pravyk’s guard. 30 min on the pump and hose car (ANR). He extinguished the fire on the roof of the reactor at a height of 36 meters, where he was for 20 minutes, until he fainted.
He was awarded the Order of the Red Star (1986).
At a time when the firefighters were working at the epicenter of a nuclear hell, taking on a powerful radiation shock, their parents and sisters had to leave their ancestral contaminated land forever because the radiation level was 5,000 times higher than normal (more than 100 mR / h).
After a long treatment, Ivan Mykhailovych returned to the fire service, 1986-1987 – senior firefighter 12-SVPCH Vyshgorod UPO ATC Kyiv Regional Executive Committee. In 1987 he returned to his native Belarus, until 2002 he served in the Narovlya District Department of Emergencies of the Gomel Regional Department of the Ministry of Emergencies of the Republic of Belarus, a retired senior ensign of the internal service. He was a famous man in Belarus.
Our sincere condolences to the hero’s family, his brother Peter Mikhailovich Shavre.
The above text was written by Anna Korolevska, of the National Museum of Chernobyl.
Header photo by Raúl Moreno