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Reporting from "Phosphorous Hell"

Reporting from "Phosphorous Hell"
Andrey Manchuk 24.07.2007
Источник: Source: "Newspaper Kiev"

Berestechko as if has died out - its inhabitants stay at home and communicate with relatives by means of mobile phones. Local people told us about a dense fog which shut on small town in the early morning, according to the words of a peasant Andrey Tarnavsky, nothing could be seen in it at the distance of fifty meters.

On all the way from Berestechko to Busk we met only one car with confused chairman of Chanizhsky Village Committee at the wheel.

- It's forbidden to go there, guys. There are a little phosphorus, - he instructed us half-heartedly. According to chairman, water, ground and air samples were taken today in neighboring villages, but no results were spoken about and this strange, "Chernobyl" silence of authorities became nutritious base for panic moods which fast, by phone were transferred to the inhabitants of Lvov. One can often see people in gauze bandages and on one of the turns we even saw kneeler old woman who prayed in such a pose to the far steeples of the church.

And nearby, on a kitchen garden of a village Toporiv there was another chemical attack - on potato beetles. Peasant Peter Demjanchuk who organized it, did not hide his indifference to an accident.

- We were poised many times by different stuffs. One time more, one time less. Authorities all the same will tell lies. Anyway we have no other place to go, - he summed up the stoical sight at a state of affairs.

Formally some families has already evacuated from the village, they even got into statistics of the Ministry of Emergency Measures, - but actually those people simply went to their relatives to wait for the panic to go away. However, the majority of the local people categorically refused to leave their houses and properties. "Newspaper..." has already observed similar moods in the last year - during the explosion in a "half-military" Novobogdanovka.

The regional center Busk located near to a place of failure, hooted as the frightened beehive. There were talkings about phosphoric accident at each corner - some scaredly and some with undisguised interest - at last something happened with us! And near post office some pensioner read to the women surrounded him detailed lecture on a civil defense. More or less optimistic moods predominated in a building of Busk's City Council though not less than twelve thousand people live in a zone of prospective defeat.

- A cloud from products of combustion firstly rose highly above the ground - it was even seen in Brody, - the worker of the City Council who agreed to show the way to the nearest militian post near a place of failure to the journalists told us. Then the wind blew, it went on the north, behinds the woods and there it settled. We tried at the very first day to take away children and someone also took away cattle. Two tens people suffered - all of them in the first day. They were taken away from our regional hospital to Lvov.

Most likely, they didn't understand in district the danger of this railway-chemical accident at once.

- When it was said that phosphorus was scattered, peasants wanted to run to the place with buckets - they thought, it's fertilization and it wouldn't be superfluous in a household, - they told us in Busk without humour.

And only then someone recollected that phosphorus can also kill. This many-sided substance which was opened by medieval alchemists as a result of searches of a philosophical stone and has received from them first name - "cold fire", really is being used as a filling for cognominal, phosphorus bombs.

To get into the place of the failure we left behind three militia cordons and only on the last we were asked about flu mask to safeguard respiratory ways.

- You don't have flu masks? Well, then you should drink salty water, - limbs of the order instructed us showing the way to operative camp of the Emergency Situations Ministry. Vice-premier Kuzmuk dressed in the dark blue form of Nestor Shufrich's department was in charger in this assemblage of army tents, fire machines and police men drinking salty water. The general was obvious in his best and looked absolutely as in those nice times when he controlled the defense of the country and our rockets precisely defeated house and civil planes.

Having gathered journalists who were in the camp, Kuzmuk started speaking with delight - according to vice-premier, there were no bases for panic, fires had been already extinguished and periodic ignitions of phosphorus occurred only owing to strong heat. The obvious contradiction between two last theses, to which the correspondent of "Newspaper..." paid attention, did not confused gallant "curator of the power block". To confirm his words, he invited ministers to go directly to an epicentre of the accident.

Having bypassed with vice-minister train sets, we saw heaps of standing on the ends tanks which completely blocked the destroyed railway tracks. Some of these scorched capacities laid in a ditch, among solid carpet of the burnt out grass. Thick rails on a roadway were bended so as if they were unscrewed with someone's huge hands. Firemen in suits of special chemical defense and gas masks continuously watered tanks with special liquids from big hoses-bells. This whitish foam flew down on the ground, covered all the area of the accident and unpleasantly slopped under the shoes. Fire men fussing around persistently demanded "to increase pressure" and drive away journalists from the tanks reminding them about phosphorus vapors. 

- Tell us, if you are sure that it is really yellow phosphorus? And not rocket fuel, for example?, - we asked employees of the Emergency Situations Ministry.

- I have never seen earlier neither this phosphorus, nor nuclear-rocket fuel. Should I taste it to distinguish? As experts name this rubbish, so we tell its name to you, - one of these tired, stirred up with heat and work people answered. Fortunately, the dosimeter did not show increase of a radiating background near to tanks decaying under a slope.

At the time representatives of the Kazakh company - the sender of poisonous substance - were coming to the place of the accident. They looked like classical postSoviet businessmen.

- Salaam! It's our national greeting - from a word "bacon"! - vice-premier Kuzmuk wittily welcomed the visitors. Kazakh "chemists" were observing the place of the accident for a long time, but failed to give the distinct answer how effectively to struggle with its consequences.

However, the authority is going to cope with accident by own efforts. Alexander Kuzmuk promises "to stick" gradually poison spilled and to take it away together with the upper layer of a ground. It should be noted that we hardly believe in it. In fact we are lucky to live in the country where scale accidents take place minimum two times a year at a time when minister responsible for their liquidation organizes hunting for the crocodile that has run away from circus.

In fact recently similar chemical accident in a miniature was gone by Kiev - when in the street our city mercury from the stocks of notorious enterprise "Radical" plentifully spilled. It is possible to recollect also carriages that one of these days were derailed in the region of populous underground "Petrovka". And if it is so, who guarantees that an epicentre of the next scale accident will not appear directly under a window at our gallant ministers?

In the meantime they started to lift turned over tanks with phosphorus, derailed as a result of accident in Lvov area, RIA News informs. Employees of the Public Administration of a Railway Transport ("Ukrsalisnitsy") work on the place. They have lifted the first tank which is not damaged. As Minister of Emergency Situations of the Ukraine Nestor Shufruch who arrived to the place of the accident declared, up to the end of the day the workers of "Ukrsalisnitsy" planed to lift all the turned over tanks. They would be loaded in the special carriage of the open type and to be sent to Kazakhstan, whence they followed to Poland. The temperature of air in the area of the accident rose up to 30 degrees. Phosphorus lights up at temperature of 34 degrees and in this connection tanks are constantly poured over with foam.

The quantity of the hospitalized has grown up to 152 people.

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