Thursday, February 22, 2007


About six years ago, I first learned about the mine fire burning underneath the town of Centralia, Pa. The story fascinated me to no end and to this day, I can't get enough of the story!

Let me start from the beginning. Somewhere in the midst of central Pennsylvania lies the mining town of Centralia, Pa. It was never a big town but it was a mining town. Anthrocite, a type of coal, was mined here. However, after the 1929 stock market crash, one of the mining companies folded. And that was that. Centralia's mining days were over!

Fast forward to the year 1962. Landfills sit atop the old mine. A fire starts in the landfill...the fire spreads and spreads underneath the town of Centralia. The anthrocite fire cannot be extinguished! The fire continued to burn for many years (and still does to this day)! The residents of the town continued to live in this inferno! In the early 1980s, an eleven or twelve year old boy, was standing in his grandmother's backyard when the ground opened up beneath him! He slid twelve feet beneath the earth, grasping onto tree roots to prevent him from falling into the fire beneath the ground! Thankfully, his older cousin was able to grab hold of him and pull him to safety. After this, lots of money was spent to relocate the residents of Centralia. Some still stay though. I don't know, maybe ten.

The town of Centralia is a few hours from where I live. Maybe three. I really want to go there and check it out. Turns out that Eric, the guy I've been seeing, is from a town pretty nearby to Centralia! How cool is that? And, he was able to get me a reviewer's copy of the book, The Day the Earth Caved in: An American Mining Tragedy, a book all about the Centralia mine fires.

1 comment:

Miss President said...

You know, I've heard about that, too! How interesting it is! I can't even imagine what it must be like to live in a town in which the ground literally opens up and eats you!