From the website of David DeKok, author of "Fire Underground: The Continuing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire":
Centralia was a pleasant community of about 1,435 souls in 1962. On May 27 of that year, with the best of intentions, a fire was set in Centralia's garbage dump by firemen hired by the borough council. They had always done this, because the dump had always been next to one cemetery or another, and with Memorial Day and many grave visits approaching, they wanted to get rid of the offending odors as best they could.
The firemen piled the trash in one corner of the pit, set it afire and later washed down the smoldering ashes with fire hoses. ... The fire found its way through a hole in the pit into the vast, black labyrinth of abandoned coal mines that lay beneath Centralia. The borough council tried desperately to put out the underground fire, but after a few days it was beyond their reach.
Note: The fire continues to burn, the town all but abandoned.
Photo from www.albany.edu.
* "Fire Underground": @
* "Slow Burn: A Photodocument of Centralia, Pennsylvania" (book by Renee Jacobs, 2010): @
* Watch "The Town That Was" (2007 documentary, via www.hulu.com): @
* "There Goes the Neighborhood, Up in Flames" (Esquire magazine, August 1999): @* "Fire in the Hole" (Smithsonian magazine, May 2005): @
* "Few Remain as 1962 Fire Still Burns" (Associated Press, 2010): @
* www.centraliaminefire.weebly.com: @* www.centraliapa.com: @
* Entry on www.pahighways.com: @
* Entry on www.offroaders.com: @