Centralia   Pennsylvania

At the top of the hill in Centralia, as you entered town via the Route 61 bypass, you may notice smoke coming from the hill side on the left.  This location I was told is where a church once stood.  Evidence of this are the two grave yards just beyond the smoldering hill side.

 
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Above is a Virtual Tour of the hillside underneath which the coal is currently burning. Photo taken on August 19, 1999.  This 360 degree view of this area requires a Java enabled browser.  To move the view use your mouse to drag the image.

 

 
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The impression we got looking at the dead, bleached trees was one that reminded one of the images of Mt. St. Helens after it erupted only on a much smaller scale.  The smell of sulfur and fumes at times were almost over-whelming and we tried to stay up wind as best we could.

Not more that 300 feet from this location are several home where people still live.   

 
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These trees had burned due to the super heated ground. Recent ground temperature samples gave readings of over 1000 F not too far from the surface.

The constant threat of deadly fumes and carbon monoxide that comes up through the ground and into basements and houses had made living unbearable for some.  Residents had complained of constant headaches and nausea from the conditions.

At first one might think these are Birch trees with white bark but actually they are maple trees that have long since been bleach white from constant exposure to heat and fumes.  Some of the trees are burned.

 
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   Vent hole

Photos continued...

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