Posted by: gdevi | April 6, 2010

The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia

Horrifying story about the mine disaster in West Virginia here. Our friend told us about this town about an hour and half from Lock Haven called Centralia on 61 North–it is central PA coal counties–and I couldn’t believe it. Apparently, it is virtually a ghost town now. What happened was that sometime in the early sixties somebody burned trash in an exposed pit that was actually the tip of an abandoned strip coal mine — but which was not indicated or posted as such. The trash kept burning and the fire went down into the veins on the surface and then into the coal mine further underground until the fire started to burn underground through the mineral rich veins. Apparently state and federal government tried to put out the fire underground but it was ineffectual and Centralia became a town with fire burning underneath its surface–people would open their basements and suddenly the whole basement would go up in flames. Toxic fumes and gases and ash erupted out of the ground whichever way. The entire town was sitting on top of a burning strip mine. Can you imagine? Millions of dollars later many houses were abandoned and the federal government relocated the residents of Centralia out of Centralia.  Government studies have indicated that the underground fire could burn for another 100 years and could spread as wide as 4000 acres.  It is like out of some disaster flick.  Can you imagine? Unbelievable. Apparently there are just a few residents there now who refuse to move out — and people drive by there to gawk at the abandoned town. You can literally see fire and smoke coming out from the ground. Oy!

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