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Centralia abandoned after coal mine fire began releasing poisonous gas

Coal News - Published on Wed, 11 Jan 2017

Image Source: reported that there’s a small town in America that looks like it has been hit by the apocalypse and many have described the place as hell on earth. There are cracking tar roads with smoke billowing out of them, graffiti on abandoned, derelict buildings and signs to warn people the ground could swallow you at any minute, due to a fire burning underground.

Centralia, in Pennsylvania, wasn’t always like this. It was once a booming coal mining town with more than 1000 residents. Today, less than 10 people live there, and despite the town crumbling around them, they refuse to leave.

Most of the roads in the town lead to nowhere. Pennsylvania Route 61 used to stretch through Centralia but it was destroyed by the underground fire, and cracks tearing through the tar would make you think a severe earthquake struck the area.

Centralia is about 185km from Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia. The town was left abandoned after a coal mine fire began to burn more than 50 years ago.

Residents turned an old strip mine into a dump and would set the rubbish alight. The fire spread through an unsealed opening to the underground coal mines, as deep as 91m, and has never been put out.

The fire stretches 12km and burns underneath an area that is 15 square kilometres. The fire is causing poisonous gas with high levels of carbon monoxide to seep through the ground.

This threat scared off many of the residents as they were told the fire could burn for another 250 years.

When carbon monoxide is in the air, it can be very dangerous as it builds up in the blood.

People suffer from symptoms like the flu and get headaches or feel fatigued, dizzy or nauseous. The fire could cause the ground to swallow parts of Centralia at any minute, and this once even almost killed a 12-year-old boy.

Associated Press reported back in 1981 residents were frustrated by the lack of action taken to fix Centralia.

Mr Michael Sulick retired miner said that “Instead of going forward, we’re going backwards. Everybody in the town is scared ... you can go to bed at night, but you don’t know whether you’ll wake up in the morning.”

Historian and journalist, David DeKok, who has written hundreds of articles about the Centralia fire, told the Chronicle Herald the fire is bizarre and nature was reclaiming the town.

He said that “You see sidewalks to nowhere. Power lines that go down empty streets. There are a few vestiges of the town that used to be. Areas as I remember being vacant after houses were torn down are now filled with trees and shrubs and bushes. I suspect in 50 years there will be scant evidence a community was ever there.”

Source :

Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 11 Jan 2017
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