The Abandoned Town That Has Been On Fire For Over 50 Years

Samuel Reason | September 6th, 2018

If you go anywhere near the town of Centralia in Pennsylvania then you will come across some pretty scary warning signs: death by asphyxiation or being swallowed up whole by the ground. This old mining town was once home to over 1,000 people but it is now completely abandoned.

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And it is not just another ghost town that has been abandoned due to the change of times, no this town has been on fire for half a century. The fire started when a decision was made to intentionally set a landfill site on fire to burn garbage back in 1962, the problem was the landfill site was actually an old mine. This meant below ground it was connected to a complete maze of underground mining tunnels that had long been forgotten, only the disaster as they were still filled with coal!

Though the town eventually got the fire above ground under control and was able to extinguish it, they quickly realized there was a complete inferno going on below ground. And it was even burning under Centralia’s town center. This caused a complete evacuation from the town, as the fire underground was destroying Centralia by causing the ground to collapse.

And there is no stopping the destruction, estimation believes there is enough coal underground for it to continue burning for over 250 years. Today the town is just an eerie grid of abandoned streets, in the 1980s the government put forth a $42 million relocation plan to ensure everyone did move out. There were a couple dozen people who held out, but today there really is nothing much left at all, about 12 people total refused to leave and they continue to occupy a couple of scattered structures.

Over the years of the fire burning, the ground has opened up and erupted with sulfurous gases which are highly dangerous. In the winter the ground is so warm, snow just melts in pages no matter how cold it gets.

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