Ukrainian firefighters on a dangerous mission to save lives, homes
Ukrainian authorities say that Russian forces are attacking Kostiantynivka with bombs and missiles. Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk region, said one person was killed and at least three civilians were wounded after several rounds of Russian shelling on Saturday.
An attack on the village a day before injured eight people and destroyed or damaged more than a dozen houses. The barrages have overwhelmed local firefighters, who are at great risk of putting out fires in buildings and cars even as the shelling continues.
The air is heavy with smoke and the pungent smell of explosives as the firefighters open hoses. They break the windows of the brick house and spray water from outside.
There are no people inside, but there is a dog locked in a cage in the backyard. A fireman opens the gate and the dog runs out amidst the smoke and debris.
The head of the unit asks his team to stop what they are doing.
“Take care everyone. air raid!” he shouts.
The firefighters take cover behind the house. They sit quietly as an explosion goes off nearby. One lights a cigarette.
It is not clear whether the explosions are a new wave of attacks or a secondary explosion caused by fires in the area. Anyway, the explosion is getting too close, and the team leader orders everyone back to the truck.
While they are running down the dirt road, another huge explosion rocks the neighborhood, sending a cloud of smoke towards the sky near the house they left.
Associate reporter Karl Ritter in Kyiv contributed to this report.
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