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'We don't know if we wake up tomorrow': Miramar firm's engineer hides out in Ukraine

Blueboard employs dozens of workers who remain in Ukraine
Miramar company employs dozens who remain in Ukraine
Posted at 4:47 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 09:30:40-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - An engineer with a San Diego company is sharing her fears, as she hides in a building in a heavily bombed city in Ukraine.

For Katya, the emotions are hard to hold back.

“I cried from time to time. I don't know how many times per day,” said Katya.

Over Zoom, she showed ABC 10News the basement and room she has been staying in with her boyfriend, two friends and a dog, since a few hours after the Russian invasion. It’s not her home and she declined to give any details about her location.

She is in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, in the eastern part of the country. Its central square was bombed Tuesday. On Monday, video surfaced of cluster bombs pounding a residential area.

“It’s so dangerous. It’s so scary,” said Katya. “When we go to the toilet, on the second floor, we hear bombs.”

Ukrainian government officials have reported dozen of civilian deaths in Kharkiv in the past few days.

“I love my city. I love people that live here. I love Ukraine, and we are all shocked,” said Katya.

Katya has yet to step outside. Her boyfriend has left a few times for groceries.

“He takes a shooter (gun) and knife and go outside,” said Katya.

Katya is an engineer for Miramar-based Blueboard, a global company that creates experiential employee recognition programs.

CEO Taylor Smith says a few of his employees escaped the country, but more than 30 remain, mostly in Kharkiv.

“Some are going to the Metro to sleep underground in the subway station … Russian soldiers are now going into the cities on foot, so now people are really hanging out underground, locking their doors, keeping their lights off,” said Smith.

For Katya, there is lighting in her underground hiding place, but when they go to the toilet in the floor above, they are in the dark. They must keep low.

“It's dangerous because there are windows,” said Katya.

Those dangers also make it hard to sleep.

“We don't know if we wake up tomorrow,” said Katya.

The company has started a GoFundMe campaign for their employees, for food, and any other expenses they may have.