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Centralia Coal Mine Fire: Real Life Horror Story

Updated on August 30, 2017

Centralia Coal Mine Fire: The REAL "Silent Hill"

A coal fire below Centralia, PA has been burning for 50 years and has enough fuel to burn for another 250 years. It's a real life horror story with no immediate end in sight. The roads are closed, signs are posted about toxic gas emissions, the cemeteries have a greater population than the town ever had, and the underground coal mine fire, which started in 1962, continues to burn.

In 1962, Centralia was a growing community of about 1100 residents. The town sat upon one of the richest veins of anthracite coal in the United States. Now there are 4 people who live there. One of the residents is Lamar Mervine, the town's 86 year old mayor, who recalls how no one took action for four or five months and when they did, it was too little, too late. He is determined to stay in Centralia and tell his story to all who ask.

In the 2006 horror film, "Silent Hill," the town of Silent Hill has been abandoned due to a prolonged mine fire. "This was inspired by Centralia, PA," says the film's director, Christophe Gan. Throughout the movie we see characters wandering through the mist wearing mining gear. Films such as "Silent Hill" and other Hollywood movies all have an ending. Unfortunately, the underground mine fire beneath Centralia, PA has no ending in sight.

Flickr Photograph © 2007 "Centralia, PA (detail)" by divinemisscopa
This is a detail of the original photograph, which is shown in its entirety toward the end of this lens. Some Rights Reserved

This Is a Real Life Horror Story

Warning Signs Are Everywhere

PA's Department of Environmental Protection Warns People to Stay Away

The photograph below shows one of the many signs put up by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection warning people to stay away. Still people come by to see what's going on and to photograph and videotape the site. The air reeks with the smell of sulphur. Highway cracks run hundreds of feet, and some are several feet deep. Smoke, gasses and noxious fumes pour out of the earth. Danger is everywhere.

Image adapted from Flickr photograph by dmuth

Some Rights Reserved

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Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire by by David DeKok - Amazon Book Review

"Award-winning journalist David DeKok tells, how the Centralia mine fire really started in 1962. He shows how local, state and federal government officials failed to take effective action, allowing the fire to move underneath the small town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. By early 1981, the fire was sending deadly gases into homes, forcing the federal government to install gas alarms."

"A 12-year-old boy dropped into a steaming hole in the ground wrenched open by the fire's heat on Valentine's Day as the region's congressman toured nearby." The hole was about four feet in diameter and approximately 150 feet deep. The boy managed to hold on to exposed tree roots and was pulled out by his cousin.

"DeKok tells how the people of Centralia banded together to demand help from the government, finally winning money to relocate much of the town."

Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy Of The Centralia Mine Fire
Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy Of The Centralia Mine Fire

David DeKok knows more about the Centralia, PA mine fires than any other author.

Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire
Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire

This award winning book is currently out- of-print but if you can get your hands on a copy, it's well worth it.

Slow Burn: A Photodocument of Centralia, Pennsylvania (Keystone Books)
Slow Burn: A Photodocument of Centralia, Pennsylvania (Keystone Books)

This is a stunning photo-documentary of the nightmare that is ongoing in Centralia, PA.

The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy
The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy

This 2009 publication tells the story of this tragic mining town through the eyes and experiences of its people. The book contains eight pages of black and white photographs.


True Hell: The Centralia Mine Fire Continues to Rage Out of Control

Smoke & toxic gas from the underground mine fire emanates from the ground.

With the fire burning out of control directly below, the highway has cracked and buckled. Smoke pours out of the cracks.

Flickr Photograph © 2006 "Route 61" by jesiehart

Taken in Byrnsville, Pennsylvania

Some Rights Reserved

Hell on Earth

It's a Real Life Horror Story

"This was a world where no human could live, hotter than the planet Mercury, its atmosphere as poisonous as Saturn's. At the heart of the fire, temperatures easily exceeded 1,000 degrees. Lethal clouds of carbon monoxide and other gases swirled through the rock chambers."

(DeKok, David (1986). Unseen Danger; A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 17)

Flickr Photograph © 2008 "Burnt Couch" by Proper Pictures
Some Rights Reserved

Stretch of Highway in Centralia

Flickr photographer "divinemisscopa" wrote the following about her photograph below: "Here you can see a large crevice in a stretch of highway, now abandoned, leading to Centralia, PA. There was smoke rising from the center of the crack, however, it was difficult to capture it in this photograph. I woke up this morning with a sore throat, undoubtedly caused by sucking in this stuff for an hour or so yesterday."

Flickr Photograph © 2007 "Centralia, PA" by divinemisscopa
Some Rights Reserved

Discovery Channel: "Centralia Coal Fire" 2002 - Underground Inferno

In the video below, the Discovery Channel takes a look at this raging underground coal mine fire.

The road continues to subside and to crack, swallowing up anything that's on top of it, be it cars or buildings. Shoes left by a member of the Discovery Channel for 20 minutes on a hot spot melted into a bubbly mass of oozing goo.

State and federal authorities took years to mobilize, and all attempts to put out the fire have failed. Take a look at this video for more information.


Smoke wafts from a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) monitoring hole in Centralia, Pennsylvania.

Wikipedia P.D. Photograph © 2007 "Centralia, PA"

Centralia and Byrnesville, Pennsylvania

The town of Centralia and the neighboring village of Byrnesville have been devastated by the mine fire. You can read more about the village of Brynesville and see pictures here: Byrnesville, Pennsylvania. The last home was torn down there in 1996.

Centralia, PA:
Centralia, PA

get directions

The Former Highway Into Town

Route 61, Centralia, Pennsylvania

This is a panoramic view of [what was] Route 61 through Centralia, Pennsylvania.

Photo from Wikipedia Commons, taken by Macaddct1984 in 2008 and released into the Public Domain.

Cinder Block Shrine

Brynesville, Pennsylvania

The town of Centralia has been devastated. The neighboring village of Brynesville has also been abandoned because of fire. The last home there was demolished in 1996. All that exists now in Brynesville are the ruins of the coal miner's washhouse and this shrine, made of cinder blocks and old bathtubs.(See photo below)

Flickr Photograph © 2008 "IMG_0460" by daysofthundr46
Some Rights Reserved

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Why Did It Get So Out of Control?

How Could This Happen?

Information Courtesy of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia

"One theory asserts that in May 1962, Centralia Borough Council hired five members of the volunteer fire company to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip mine pit next to the Odd Fellows Cemetery. This had been done prior to Memorial Day in previous years, when the landfill was in a different location. The firefighters, as they had in the past, set the dump on fire, and let it burn for a time. Unlike in previous years, however, the fire was not extinguished."

"The fire remained burning underground and spread through a hole in the rock pit into the abandoned coal mines beneath Centralia. Attempts to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful and it continued to burn throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Adverse health effects were reported by several people due to the byproducts of the fire, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and lack of healthy oxygen levels."

"In 1979, locals became aware of the scale of the problem when a gas-station owner and then mayor, John Coddington, inserted a stick into one of his underground tanks to check the fuel level. When he withdrew it, it seemed hot, so he lowered a thermometer down on a string and was shocked to discover that the temperature of the gasoline in the tank was 172 °F (77.8 °C). Statewide attention to the fire began to increase, culminating in 1981 when 12-year-old resident Todd Domboski fell into a subsidence four feet wide by 150 feet (46 m) deep that suddenly opened beneath his feet in a backyard."

"In 1984, Congress allocated more than $42 million for relocation efforts. Most of the residents accepted buyout offers and moved to the nearby communities of Mount Carmel and Ashland. A few families opted to stay despite warnings from state officials."

"In 1992, Pennsylvania claimed eminent domain on all properties in the borough, condemning all the buildings within. A subsequent legal effort by residents to have the decision reversed failed. In 2002, the United States Postal Service revoked Centralia's ZIP Code, 17927."

Information Courtesy of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia

More Information Can be Found in These Books

Centralia: Tragedy Of A Town - The Real Silent Hill


Silent Hill: The Movie Trailer - Inspired by Centralia, Pennsylvania


Did You Know About This?

Did you know about the underground fire before reading this lens?

Summary and More Questions

Until the early 1970s or early 80s, the underground mine fire was considered an inconvenience. It was not until a 12 year boy, playing in the backyard, fell through a 150 foot sink hole created by the fire that the media began paying attention and the government offered to relocate people and the residents fled. (Luckily, the boy was pulled out by his cousin). But was "danger" what caused the government to finally intervene and relocate people?

According to the former towns' mayor, Lamar Mervine, the youngster sank into a former outhouse hole and the media exaggerated it. He feels the government is responsible for the mass exodus from Centralia and Byrnsville and the reason is that they want the land.

The land in Centralia is extremely valuable because of its anthracite coal. Anthracite is a rare and slow burning hard coal. The reserves under Centralia make up a little less than two percent of the United States reserves and is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. In an article by Jason Zasky, called "The Unforgettable Fire: Centalia, PA's Eternal Flame," he writes that the U.S. government has no incentive to put out the fire until all residents of Centralia are gone and mining can begin.

The former town's mayor says: "The people couldn't move away fast enough - at least by the estimation of the state's politicians. "When they first started to move out the governor came to town and told us, 'anybody who wants to move, we'll buy the home-no pressure'," says Mervine. "But then they declared eminent domain [the right of the government to appropriate private property for public use] and said ALL the homes were in the 'impact zone.' "*

Because Centralia is the only municipality within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that actually owned its mineral rights, many believe that the state's eminent domain claim is a ploy to gain the mineral rights to the anthracite coal beneath the borough.

The zip code for Centralia has been revoked and most maps no longer show any existence of the town. In Ashland, which is 1.6 miles away, the highway detours. No reason is posted and rarely does anyone question it.

*The Unforgettable Fire: Centalia, PA's Eternal Flame

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Centralia Vault

Vault in Centralia, PA to Be Opened in 2016

The photographers "Lyndi & Jason" wrote: "An underground mine fire has been burning in Centralia since 1962. This is the town's time capsule vault to be opened in 2016. We're expecting them to find... ashes?"

Unfortunately, they may have a point.

Flickr Photograph © 2001 "Centralia Vault" by Lyndi&Jason
Some Rights Reserved

Centralia Update

August 26, 2010

WGRC Radio in Pennsylvania has reported the following:

"In Columbia County a Judge has ruled that Centralia landowners can keep the rights to coal under their properties in case there is any future mining there. But the government still plans to move forward with buyouts of the few remaining homes in the borough plagued by an underground mine fire. The Press Enterprise reports, Columbia County Judge Thomas James says owners can have the rights to coal but along with coal rights comes the responsibility for getting out of there. The recent issue was whether the government takeover of the homes also includes "subsurface" or mineral rights. James will preside over a jury trial scheduled to begin in two weeks to set property values on remaining homes and parcels owned by Helen Hynoski; her son Steve and wife Bonnie Hynoski; Carl and Helen Womer; and late Centralia Mayor Lamar Mervine Jr. and wife Lana. But that won't be the last legal chapter in Centralia's long fight for survival since condemnation declarations were made in Harrisburg on January 28th, 1993. Harrisburg attorney Bart Holmes and Don Bailey, representing the Centralians' say the property owners plan to appeal after the trial, and take the matter to a higher court."

Jim Diehl (WGRC)

Other news:

Centralia's former mayor, Lamar Mervine, died on New Year's Day 2010.

Flickr Photograph © 2007 "Centralia, PA" by divinemisscopa
The photographer describes this image as "an eerie tombstone as found in St. Ignatius Cemetary, in Centralia, PA" Some Rights Reserved

Stop by and let us know what you think of this lens!

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    • leatherwooddesign profile image

      Marisa Horn 

      5 years ago from Rintown Pa

      Driving through the other day I was surprised how beautifully 'Mother Nature' has reclaimed the land. It is green and filled with life not seen in that area for a long long time.

    • Zdiddle profile image


      5 years ago

      Since all the houses have been knocked down, it's sort of underwhelming if you visit. I went with a friend and just couldn't help thinking that only in America would a bunch of idiots drive all the way out to stand on potentially collapsible ground and breath in noxious fumes just to get a picture of a tiny TINY wisp of smoke. Did I still go? You bet your ass I went!

    • NibsyNell profile image


      6 years ago

      So sad but a fascinating read all the same!

    • leatherwooddesign profile image

      Marisa Horn 

      6 years ago from Rintown Pa

      @TonyPayne: The vien of coal runs for miles and goes through other towns. All the mining done from other mines mines makes it impossible to close off the fire. I always wonder what the chances are that the fire is going to hit another town. That seems more feasable than it being stopped. Sometimes at night you can see the glow of the fire from quite far away but the biggest thing other than the abandonment is the smoke rising from the cracked ground. Nothing much is being done about Centralia anymore. Actually it has been years since much was done.

    • leatherwooddesign profile image

      Marisa Horn 

      6 years ago from Rintown Pa

      Great lens you covered it quite well.

    • karen-stephens profile image


      6 years ago

      sad...Thanks for sharing.. Angel Blessings! xxo

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image


      6 years ago from Rhode Island

      I have heard of this before great lens it is very sad

    • Aquavel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Cinnamonbite: I hope you stop by and let us know about your visit.

    • Cinnamonbite profile image


      6 years ago

      Hopefully they don't chase tourists out if there. I'm going tomorrow. I don't know when I first read about Centralia. Sometime in the 70s, but education was better then. Everyone knew about the underground fire, still burning.

    • Pip Gerard profile image

      Pip Gerard 

      7 years ago

      so fascinating. Never heard of it before. I do think it probably has to do mostly with the worth of the coal... that wouldn't surprise me at all.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      wow great story, but sad nice lens

    • Rangoon House profile image


      7 years ago from Australia

      What a sad story. The centennial vault will tell some further sad stories, but how fascinating it would be at it's opening in 2016. Blessings.

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • wrapitup4me profile image


      7 years ago

      I never heard of this. I am always shocked anew when I hear about things like this. What a cynical world we live in!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This was an excellent lens. I enjoyed it a lot - thank you for making it.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      7 years ago from USA

      This is so sad. It's hard to believe that no one has been able to come up with a solution.

    • Aquavel profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @sudokunut: The underground mine fire is vast and complex, there are far too many fissures in the rocks and vents, as you've indicated. The source of oxygen is seemingly everywhere. Smithsonian Magazine says that "microscopic spaces between grains of dirt" and holes in the mud are giving the fire more air and the subsidence overhead that occurs is constantly fanning the fire. Way out of control. I wonder if they've called in experts and think tanks and if there are any possible solutions we are not aware of. Last I checked the government still was not doing anything. I'll do some more research and see if that has changed.

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 

      7 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      I had pretty much the same thought as Poddys....why don't they cut the oxygen source? I'm assuming it's too hazardous or there are so many cracks and vents now it's just not feasible. Really interesting lens. I had no idea this existed.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      some good stuff here !

      I like it !

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      All fires need oxygen to keep burning. It's a shame that they can't identify the source of the air source for the fire, and cut it off. If they could block the source, combined with pumping in CO2, I would have thought there might be a way to put the fire out. I had never heard of this before, it's amazing. Excellent lens and a story well told, blessed.

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 

      7 years ago

      Nice lens. I think you've done a great job in sharing the story. Very interesting read. Thanks!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, I never heard of this actually happening. I'm a big fan of the Silent Hill movie. I'm glad I ran into this story. It just shows how long the government has been throwing the people to the side. Nothing is ever serious enough for them unless it pertains to them. Thank you for sharing this. It's sad to hear what's happening and no one really knows. And it's sad what happened in this town. Poor souls.

    • nuestraherencia profile image


      7 years ago

      Oh, I read about this somewhat a few years is truly sad and amazing. Unfortunately, most think that this will never happen in their town. Thanks for spreading the word!

    • Ribolov LM profile image

      Ribolov LM 

      7 years ago

      NIce lens, nice story!

    • Aquavel profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @chezchazz: Thanks Chaz! Now that you mention it, I remember the smell of sulphur in towns near where I grew up in Western Pennsylvania. Thanks for the angel dust!

    • Aquavel profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @WindyWintersHubs: Thank you for your comments, concern, and blessing!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      7 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Congrats on your Purple Star and for sharing this amazing story. It's so sad that it hasn't been stopped. Blessed!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      good lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      good one...

    • pheonix76 profile image


      7 years ago from WNY

      This is an issue we should all be aware of -- I have never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing this information, it's quite sad to think of such a thing going on! Lets hope we can one day soon find a solution for this disaster.

    • floppypoppygift1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens-very interesting! Super mind-boggling!

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 

      7 years ago

      This is a very interesting piece and I appreciate reading this page. It goes to show that our desire to use coal for fuel overrides our desire to keep our planet safe. I think this could have been foreseen and steps could have been taken to avoid this sort of thing at all costs. Thanks for bringing us this information. See you around the galaxy...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      That's really a bizzarre story ever! It's really alarming to think that fire or lava underneath the ground will goes up into the land surface.. Hope It will happen.. Thanks for telling this terrible story!..

    • Mishael A Witty profile image

      Mishael A Witty 

      7 years ago

      Great lens, and a fascinating story. Thank you for sharing!

    • sherridan profile image


      7 years ago

      Shocking and fascinating! One of my favourite lenses ever!

    • Valerie Bloom profile image

      Valerie Bloom 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Very well written, moving lens. Thank you for writing about this.

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 

      7 years ago

      great lens , full of info.

    • heehaw lm profile image

      heehaw lm 

      7 years ago

      great lens , full of info.

    • Brandi Bush profile image


      7 years ago from Maryland

      I've been here before, but I'm so fascinated by this story...I had to return and give you a SquidAngel blessing now that I have my wings! :)

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      7 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Intriguing, thanks for making us aware.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I never had heard of this before that was an incredible lens great job

    • PamelaU profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thank you for sharing... i hope people will be responsible of their acts...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I just blessed this excellence in January, so just returning to congratulate you on Squidoo front page honors!

    • WilliamPower profile image


      7 years ago

      Really good lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I knew I'd like this article before I started reading it. *blessed by a squid angel*

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A great lens! I had heard about this before, but only in a one-page summary. Blessings!

    • lunagaze profile image


      7 years ago

      this is a great lens though its such a sad and terrifying story

    • AlexTedford profile image


      7 years ago

      very nice, attractive lens. Thank for sharing!

    • jordanmilesbask profile image


      7 years ago

      Such an interesting lens..thanks for sharing it.

    • wheresthekarma profile image


      7 years ago

      Super interesting lens! I had no idea about this! wow thank you for educating us all on this neverending disaster!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I live in NJ so I've heard stories about Centralia before. However, I've never heard the political end of things. I can't say I'm surprised that there are potentially hidden motives.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens

    • CruiseReady profile image


      7 years ago from East Central Florida

      This is an amazing story ... I knew part of it, but not everything you have told here.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 

      7 years ago

      Fascinating story--and what a lot of trouble this fire has caused for the residents and former residents of that area. There's am underground coal seam fire in my area which started in a mine and has been burning constantly since 1910! Every winter you can see spots where the snow is melted off the hillsides because of the heat being released, and several years ago, a forest fire which destroyed 30 homes was started by the hot gasses being released in one area.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 

      7 years ago

      Wow, I didn't know about this. It's a really sad story.

    • esvoytko lm profile image

      esvoytko lm 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for making this lens. I'm glad I know about this now.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Just read your Centralia lens & wondered if you would like to put a condensed version, a photo & a link to this lens up on my site? Really fascinating story. If you don't have time I could do it for you.

      I'm from NZ we had a mining disaster recently where 29 miners were killed.

      Here is a link to that disaster:


      I'm giving you a like for providing such detailed information on such an interesting event.

      Nice Job!

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image


      7 years ago from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

      I'm from the UK so it's not surprising that I'd not heard of this - but I didn't even know that there was such a thing as underground mine fires. My grandfather and uncles were coal miners in Wales so I knew that mines were incredibly dangerous places, but I hadn't realised about the fire hazards. It's just awful in every way imaginable :( You have my SquidAngel blessing for a truly interesting lens.

    • TheGourmetCoffe profile image


      7 years ago

      What a tragic story! Amazing this is true, must be quite an ordeal for the communities nearby.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You've got a really detailed lens. If I were one of the few remaining residents still in the area, I'd just leave. You never know when the whole place will just blow up. It seems like this could've been avoided if only careless mistakes weren't made.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Returning with an angel blessing on this excellence.

    • Aquavel profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @girlfriendfactory: When I read about Centralia I was horrified. I grew up in the same state (hours away) and yet I had never heard of this before! My dad was the coal business too. ~ I wrote this lens out of concern. I never expected to get a purple star. Thank you so much!!! And pray tell, what is "Flyby Winging?" You must be a Squid Archangel spreading fairy dust and breathing new life into everything you touch! Thank you dear Angel for your all your Gifts!!!

    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 

      7 years ago

      Just like girlfriendfactory said below, "You have done such a beautiful job telling this story to the world..." Thanks for showing a great lens.

    • girlfriendfactory profile image


      7 years ago

      I was so glad to be able to gift you with your purple star and now I am in a position to be able to give you a Flyby Winging for this terrific lens! You have done such a beautiful job telling this story to the world, my dear! :) ~Ren

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      7 years ago

      What a sad story. I have friends in Clearfield, which isn't too far away.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      great lens about the sad history of a pennsylvania town

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      7 years ago from New York City

      A fascinating story, well written.

    • thesuccess2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Angel Blessings for this slow-burning lens

    • theinquirer2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Coal fires like that are terrible

    • wolfie10 profile image


      7 years ago

      unreal. what a story. thanks

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This lens Real Life Horror Story: Centralia, PA and the story is really scary..........good jobe. Nice lens.

    • EEWorkouts profile image


      7 years ago

      Great topic. I love finding something new.

    • Rhidawn profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! Very well put together. I think I heard about it before but I didn't know all the details

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'd heard this story before - quite terrifying and sad. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 

      7 years ago

      Blessed and added to the plexo on this lens: -- check it out!

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 

      7 years ago

      This is a very powerful lens. Thanks for writing it. You sure deserved your purple star.

    • Sunflower Susan profile image

      Sunflower Susan 

      7 years ago

      Great job. Thanks for letting us know about this.

    • chezchazz profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      You did a wonderful job spreading the word about Centralia. I remember visiting relatives near Scranton PA and there was sometimes a horrible smell of sulphur in the air. My aunt told me it was the "coal pits." Strange I never heard about Centralia until now though. Hope my sprinkling of angel dust helps bring this lens even more well-deserved attention. (This page has also been added to "Wing-ing it on Squidoo," our tribute to some of the best lenses we've found since donning our wings.)

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Wow, I'm originally from western New York State and have driven through Pennsylvania's Harrisburg area many times. Can't believe I got that close to Centralia and never knew about this. Your review of the situation there is very informative. Wonder if it will ever be resolved.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is such a terrible tragedy. I tend to think the government wants the coal, but after this many years of the underground fire burning out of control, I wonder how they could stop it even if they truly tried. It's frightening to think about this. Interesting lens!

    • christopherlee lm profile image

      christopherlee lm 

      8 years ago

      Nice Len thanks for sharing.

    • lawpost profile image


      8 years ago

      The stars aligned for this one: poorly placed trash fire, coal near the surface, particular grade of coal that burns extremely hot and that is difficult to extinguish, seemingly endles supply of fuel for the fire. What a tragedy for the people of this town. Great Hub.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens to share.

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 

      8 years ago from California

      Fantastic lens on an incredible story everyone should know. P.S. Check the YouTube vids -- the module is now the width of a Squidoo column, so the spacer you were using has pushed it down leaving a chunk o' white space.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Killer lens!

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      8 years ago

      Very interesting story/lens. Well done. Congrats on your purple star too. SquidAngel blessings for this lens :)

    • kguru1979 lm profile image

      kguru1979 lm 

      8 years ago

      Beautiful pictures ... nicely made...!

    • BlogsWriter profile image


      8 years ago

      Surely there ought to be some way of extinguishing the fire ???

    • BlueStarling profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting lens about an important and sad subject.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 

      8 years ago

      Fascinating and sad. I'm inclined to believe somebody wants the coal, but where will the miners then live? Blessed by an Angel.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @Ramkitten2000: I agree this is fascinating and well written

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The real life horror story. I knew my brother would love it, so I braced myself the most horrific thing in my life! Now I'm that little bit less ignorant!

    • CoalMiningAppal profile image


      8 years ago

      Love! Love! Love the article. I featured and linked to it from coalminingappalachia. I hope this is okay with you. If not let me know and I'll remove the page linking to it.

      I'd Bless it if I could. (O;

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      It is a very interesting lens. I did not know their was an actually silent hill. great job.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What an interesting,but sad lens.

    • mom-247 profile image

      Rachel Thomas 

      8 years ago

      This was such an interesting lens. I also showed it to my nine year old daughter who now wants to do a school project on it! Thanks

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very informative and well done lens. I like how you gave credit for each photo and cited your sources. That shouldn't be such a kudo but it is amazing how many lensmaster don't. I need to come back and watch some of the videos when my husband isn't sleeping.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow - I'd never heard of this. It is also an obvious basis for films and computer games - I could kind of see Gordon Freeman clambering through those mines and avoiding the burning patches. I do wander also if the heat could be harnessed - like large metal unmanned tracked vehicles with water turbines powered by the heat beneath. The only problem would then be how to transport the power away to where it would be useful...


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