VIDEO: Ukrainian Power Plant Ablaze, Town's Future Uncertain

At least one person was killed and five injured on March 29 in a major fire [en] at the Vuhlehirska Thermal Power Plant in the town of Svitlodarsk in Ukraine's Donetsk region.

Some 12 hours later, the fire was still raging, the plant's four power-generating units were destroyed, and the town's 12,000 residents were left without heating, hot water and electricity. Bedridden patients of the local hospital were evacuated to the nearby town of Debaltsevo, according to Donetsk-based LJ user pauluskp (Pavel Kolesnik, ru), who has been re-posting videos and photos and sharing updates on the situation on his blog.

Kolesnik/pauluskp posted this video [ru] of the first minutes of the fire, recorded by the plant's employees at the time “when the flames still did not appear too dangerous”:

A little later, the picture was quite different:

And here is what the fire looked like from a residential area 40 km away from the plant (ru; video by YouTube user Anton Zabolotny, re-posted by Kolesnik/pauluskp):

According to the official information, the fire started around 3 PM. In a comment to pauluskp's post, however, LJ user hannaukr writes [ru] that the fire actually broke out around noon, but the plant's employees spent the next three hours trying to extinguish it on their own, before finally summoning the firefighters.

LJ user kotya1975 adds [ru]:

[…] As a former firefighter, I agree that there would've been a lot more chances had the professionals become involved right away. Alas, now the plant is definitely doomed, and it's important not to allow the fire to spread to nearby buildings. […]

Kolesnik/pauluskp writes that the future of the town of Svitlodarsk, home of the damaged thermal plant, is one of the main concerns right now:

It doesn't appear likely that the plant would be rebuilt. [Donbas region] might get yet another dying ghost town […].

Something similar happened with the town of Ukrainsk. Neither the [coal mine that the town's economy had depended upon], nor the town itself managed to recover after [the 2002 catastrophic accident – ru] at the coal mine. […]

Kolesnik/pauluskp links to his own photo report [ru] from Ukrainsk, which was later re-posted and translated into English by English Russia blog.

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