Alchevsk (Алчевськ, translit. Alchevs'k, Алчевск) is a town in the Luhansk Oblast (province) of south-eastern Ukraine. It belongs to Pereval'skiy Raion (district), and is located approximately 45 km from the oblast capital, Luhansk, and right next to the district capital of Perevalsk.
The current estimated population is 120,000 (as of 2004).
Alchevsk is one of the largest industrial centers in the Donbas, and comprises a quarter of the entire oblast's production. The city economy depends on OJSC "Alchevsk Iron & Steel Works" and "Alchevsk Coke-Chemical Plant" companies.
The city was known as Voroshilovsk (Ворошиловск) from 1931 to 1961, and then Kommunarsk (Коммунарск) until 1992.
An investigation revealed the massive, long-time neglegence of the city authorities. The whole heating system was designed in a hyper-centralized way, depending on only two boilers and few main pipelines. Moreover, the housing company failed to react to the pipe incident properly: the water from the system wasn't immediately dumped to prevent further freezing.
The Ukrainian government took massive emergency actions to protect Alchevsk residents from freezing. Engineering teams sent by cities and industrial companies from other regions of the country were gradually restoring heating appliances in every apartment affected. However, as of February 11, dozens of buildings were still unheated. Hundreds of children together with their schoolteachers were evacuated to the resorts and hotels in the warmier regions of Ukraine. According to the governor of Luhansk Oblast G. Moskal, it has been the worst human-made disaster in the history of independent Ukraine.
The economic consequences of the disaster for the city are unclear---including the central government's subsidation of the total replacement of the heating system in every apartment.