Centralia, Pennsylvania (Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Jrmski)
Centralia, Pennsylvania | Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Jrmski

Centralia, Pennsylvania has been fighting an underground fire for over a century now. Residents have been forced to abandon their homes and the local cemetery still has smoke coming from random places in the ground. This mysterious city has gained attention as being a haunted and peculiar place on the Pennsylvania map.

The city of Centralia’s underground became enflamed in 1962. Centralia had once been a popular coal mining city, but many of the mines had closed after the Great Depression. Still, bootleg miners would venture down into the abandoned mines to harvest coal and other resources to sell.

In May of 1962, firefighters decided to set the dump on fire to burn off old garbage and reduce the amount of waste that was in their landfill. The fire burned for a long time and eventually found its way inside one of the old mine shafts that lie beneath the ground. The fire engulfed the inside of the mine and then thick clay allowed the growth of a subterranean fire.

Centralia, Pennsylvania (Photo Credit: Wikipedia - John DS)
Centralia, Pennsylvania | Photo Credit: Wikipedia – JohnDS

The fire was kept quiet but in 1979, a local gas station owner realized that his underground fuel tanks were 172­ degrees Fahrenheit. Several occurrences of random sinkholes swallowed people into the fiery ground. These holes contained dangerous amounts of chemicals including carbon monoxide.

Many people began fleeing the city in fear of losing their home or loved one to the peculiar fire. By 1992, the governor of Pennsylvania condemned most of the city for safety hazards. Buildings were evacuated and torn down. Only 5 homes still stood in 2010.

One church in the city is still in service and the cemetery that was nearby the dump has occasional smoke filling its grounds. This creates a spooky atmosphere that leads people to get a haunting impression.

To visit Centralia, Pennsylvania, do be cautious of the area. Dangerous gases and unstable ground conditions are just a few of the warnings that the government has posted for visitors to the area. Be careful if visiting the city and stay on main roads to ensure your safety.

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