Deserted town where an underground fire has been burning for more than 60 years

[22-08-2022 02:34 PM]

Ammon News - An underground fire that has continually been burning for decades in an American town has forced most of its inhabitants to move out.

Centralia in Pennsylvania on the east coast of the USA was once a busy mining town until the events of May, 1962 altered its future forever.

A fire began in a landfill and spread to the labyrinth of coal mines thousands of feet below the surface.

It is still raging away today, 61 years later.

Many attempts to extinguish the subterranean blaze have failed and noxious gasses such as carbon monoxide continue to seep out of the cracks in the crumbling ground, making it a dangerous place to live.

In 1981 a 15-year-old boy called Todd Domboski was playing in his backyard when he fell into a sinkhole.

His cousin rescued him from the 150-foot dropped but it highlighted the dangers to those above posed by the ongoing fire below.

There are even signs posted around the town warning visitors to not go near certain areas that are especially dangerous.

Since the fire started the vast majority of its residents have moved away after being relocated by the state in 1983 and their homes flattened.

At the town's peak in 1890, just over 2,700 lived in Centralia - as of 2020, there are just five.

One resident said in 2017 they were frustrated by tourists who damage residents' properties and walk around on lawns thinking everywhere is abandoned.

They drop litter and have sprayed graffiti around the town.

A section of the disused Route 61 that led into the town was made into something of a tourist attraction after it became covered in graffiti by visitors.

However, in April, 2020 the town's residents attempted to deter tourists by covering up the road with soil after it was reported that the spraying had spread to local cemeteries.

By 2022 the town has been cut off from traffic and it remains more deserted than ever, reports The Travel.

However, the remaining residents won a legal battle with the authorities in 2013 to stay there, despite attempts to move them, and any tourists who do make their way to Centralia are reminded that it is not quite a ghost town yet.

The state said the fire could continue to burn for another century, with others reckoning that it could be hundreds more years before it finally extinguishes itself.

There were at least 259 underground mine fires across more than a dozen states as of last September, according to the federal Office of Surface Mining data, but some researchers believe there could be thousands more burning in coal seams that are unaccounted for.


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