Ghost-Town on Fire

I've been reading about Centralia for years - I finally had to make a visit to see it for myself.

Ghost-Town on Fire

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by artbasement on March 27, 2008

It all started with a fire in a garbage dump. Stories differ on whether the fire was a controlled burn or accidental, but no one debates that the fire started in the dump in late May 1962. Since the dump was located in an abandoned stip mining pit, the fire easily spread to an exposed anthracite coal vein and burned its way under the town. There has been plenty of fuel to keep feeding this fire ever since.

Throughout the years, there have been various attempts to extinguish or contain the fire. Homes were abandoned, bought out, or taken over by eminent domain. As families left, their homes were torn down. Since most of the homes were row-houses, brick supporting structures were built to support the remaining home in the row. The town now consists of a few families who refuse to leave, an emergency services building, several cemeteries, and the smoking strip mine where it all started.${QuickSuggestions} The first place we visited was the abandoned section of PA Route 61. We passed a lot of graffiti on the road before we reached the damaged section that caused the road closure. First you see undulating blacktop. As you walk on, you start to see larger and larger upheavals, until you finally reach a large crack in the middle of what used to be a highway.${BestWay} Prepare to spend time on foot. In the cemeteries, the ground is pretty uneven, but the grass can hide some of the smaller holes. Watch your footing!

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