What do I remember?
I remember kissing my sleeping wife; hearing our one year old daughter start to cry as I hurried to leave the apartment. It was just after 1am, my own shift had only finished three hours before, but it was an emergency – all hands were required to attend.
Even though the plant was three kilometers away we knew it was bad. A fire in Reactor 4 is what they told us. As we arrived I backed up the fire truck. On the ground near to the Reactor building large lumps of debris peppered the road. Some pieces burned red hot, others gently smoldered. We didn’t really know how dangerous they were.
The men from my engine quickly climbed the steel ladders onto the roof. There was fire everywhere. More engines were on the way from Kiev, and we would need them all. I never again saw the men who climbed those ladders, but they got the fires out.
Did we truly not appreciate the dangers? Did we not know what was coming out from within the flaming reactor core?
Perhaps we knew more than history tells. However, we did our job. We didn’t look at ourselves and see heroes, despite the medals they pinned on those who lived to tell the tale. We never will.
These words form my entry into this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.
In case you’re think…eh?…the picture brought to mind the fireman on the roof of Chernobyl Reactor 4 as they stared down into the melting core. Heroes every one.