46-Year Old Mine Fire Continues To Smolder


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Forty-six years ago Centralia, a small town located in east-central Pennsylvania used to be a bustling coal-mining town with over 2,500 residents. Today, it is not even listed in most maps and its population has dwindled down to 10, thanks to a fire that cannot be extinguished.

It all began in 1962, when workers burnt a landfill in the pit of an abandoned coal mine that lay right below the surface of the ground. After allowing it to burn for a few hours, they extinguished it and left.

However, hot embers from the fires caught on to the coal vein that ran just below the surface of the strip mine and erupted in the pit a few days later.

Once again the fire was put out or so they thought. However, by now the coal, of which there is plenty under the surface of this town, had caught fire. For the next twenty years, firemen tried everything to put out the fire. They flushed the mines with water, dug trenches, cleaned out the burning material and even tried to find the boundaries to try contain it. But nothing worked. It is estimated that over $66 million USD has been spent on this endeavor.

By 1980, it was decided that the carbon monoxide fumes from the smoldering fire posed a health hazard for the town residents and the Federal Government spent $44 million USD relocating them. All but ten of the residents agreed to move.

Today, the fire continues to smolder under the town, thanks to the rich coal deposits underneath. Experts estimate that there is enough coal there to keep it burning for another century. Today Centralia is a ghost town frequented by its ten residents and visited by a few curious tourists. The Federal Government owns the land and has razed down most of the homes, giving it a really abandoned look.

What a sad but fascinating story. To see more pictures of how the town looked before the fire and how it currently looks go to: http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/centralia.htm

Source: Offroaders.com

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  • eagle_fan11
    eagle_fan11Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 3:22 pm
    I live by Centrallia!
    • Apple manFriday, September 13, 2019 at 8:20 am
      please fix Centrallia again!!!
      • the guyWednesday, October 19, 2016 at 7:52 am
        tell people to stop strip mining and tell them to write articles to tell them to stop
        • kquerry24
          kquerry24Monday, September 26, 2016 at 10:42 am
          • mitchWednesday, October 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm
            Been here on several occasions as I enjoy urban exploring. Have to say it's quite creepy and surreal. It's about 2 hours north of Philly and 2 hours west of NYC. Not much to do around the area though, expect a cabelas which is about 30 min south. I recommend it as a day trip though.
            • BorabalueWednesday, October 16, 2013 at 10:50 am
              I don't think they "knocked down the houses" "for the money." That doesn't make sense. How is there money in that? I am curious about visiting though..except maybe for the carbon dioxide fumes.
              • angel062601
                angel062601Friday, October 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm
                they shouldn't have knocked down the houses. Sometimes I think the government just does things for the money!! Crule! I am inspired by the ten people that still live there!! Go Ten People!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                • vcam03
                  vcam03Sunday, November 27, 2011 at 9:57 am
                  Wow that stinks
                  • cattypopstar
                    cattypopstarWednesday, October 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm
                    oh wow
                    • egyptlover@echoSaturday, January 8, 2011 at 7:08 am
                      yeah, pour Centralia!