Do you know the story of Centralia, Pennsylvania? It goes a little something like this: In 1981, there were over 1,000 residents in this town. In 2010, there were 10. A mine fire began burning beneath the city in 1962. The fire may have been started from none other than the town’s firefighters who had volunteered to help clear a dump by burning it. It’s speculated that the fire was never extinguished correctly. The flames spread to the coal mines and has been burning ever since–but how it started can’t be officially verified.
Congress allocated more than $42 million in 1984 for relocation efforts. No longer a safe home for the residents who had long called it home, Centralia looks like a ghost-town these days, no matter the remaining residents. I know because I visited Centralia myself last summer. This shot is of former route PA Route 61. Fun fact: when I returned to my car after taking this photo, it wouldn’t start. I had to get towed out of Centralia, Pennsylvania… which isn’t exactly an easy feat to pull off (calling a tow truck to a town that hardly exists).
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