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Panoramic Virtual Tours:

Mine Fire Hot Spot
Downtown Centralia Mainstreet Centralia Damaged Hillside

Knoebels Amusement Park (only 15 miles from Centralia!) 
Ghost Towns
Area 51 - Groom Lake
Abandoned PA Turnpike
Defunct Amusement Parks
Abandoned Places


Photo Updates:

Centralia in HDR

July 2006 360? Virtual Tour of Downtown Centralia PA

Centralia's Neighbor:
Byrnesville, Pa

Zeisloft's Mobil
Gas Station

July 5th 2008
Centralia PA

Centralia PA 2008
January Photos and 
commentary by
Donald Davis

2006 Photos

2005 Photos
of Centralia


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2004 Photos
of Centralia

2003 photos

of Centralia

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2002 photos

of Centralia

360 Degree Virtual Tours of Centralia PA

Fire In The Hole
by Kristie Betts
A fictional story based on Centralia

The Little
Town That Was

by Donald Hollinger


RESIDENTS TO SAVE THE BOROUGH OF CENTRALIA - FACT SHEET #6 - MARCH 1984 - This "Fact Sheet" was transcribed from a photocopied, original March 1984 newsletter from a Centralia organization called "Residents To Save The Borough Of Centralia".  Read the News Letter here

130th Anniversary
of the 1877 Shamokin Uprising and the Great Railroad Strike .. Read More


Centralia Today
A Photo Documentary
of Centralia today.


Mine Emergency Response Program
Details from the
Mine Rescue Manual



Dept. of Environmental Protection
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Darlene Crawford   (717)787-1323


DEP Urges Remaining Centralians
To Accept Relocation Offers

HARRISBURG (May 30, 1996) -- The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has notified the remaining residents of Centralia that health and safety issues associated with the underground mine fire make it imperative to relocate.

Residents moving from Centralia will be reimbursed for the value of their homes and relocation expenses under a special program established in 1985.

In 32 certified letters dated May 28, DEP Deputy Secretary for Mineral Resources Robert C. Dolence outlined the dangers the remaining property owners face and urged them to use the relocation program, offered by the Columbia County Redevelopment Authority.

"We urge you to take advantage of the relocation program. As your former neighbors will tell you, the relocation program provides a real chance to be safe," Dolence wrote.

The danger is posed by a 34-year-old mine fire that continues to travel through an anthracite vein beneath the Columbia County hamlet.

Pointing to state tests that show the underground mine fire continues to burn beneath much of Centralia, the letters from Dolence continued: "The heat from the mine fire threatens to ignite other seams of coal above the burning vein. Sudden and severe subsidence and the release of toxic gases, particularly carbon monoxide, remain constant threats to the health and safety of you and your family."

Open combustion of anthracite occurs at 752 Fahrenheit. If enough oxygen is present, fire can accelerate through anthracite at temperatures as cool as 176 Fahrenheit. DEP tests conducted this past March recorded underground temperatures ranging from 617 to 772 Fahrenheit in the vicinity of three occupied properties. Normal underground temperatures range between 55 and 60 Fahrenheit.

"By remaining, you are assuming the risk that subsidence, gases or other events may result in injury to you or your family," the letters warned.

Subsidence occurs when the weight of the earth over a mined area causes the surface ground to collapse into the mine, taking buildings, automobiles, trees -- anything on the surface -- into the pit. Since the fire is likely to burn away coal pillars left by earlier mining to support the surface, there is a higher probability of subsidence.

Gas problems -- such as the reduction of oxygen in homes located over burning areas; the emission of carbon monoxide, which can lead to death; or the production of hydrogen, a highly explosive gas -- increase as temperatures remain elevated. Of the 29 Centralia subsurface ground temperatures recorded by DEP in March, all but one exceeded the normal range.

The fire started 34 years ago when trash was burned in an old open pit mine. Gas venting from beneath the surface ignited and carried the fire to the Buck Mountain vein of coal beneath much of the town. At the time, Centralia had a population of 1,100.

Between 1962 and 1978, state and federal governments spent $3.3 million on unsuccessful efforts to control the fire.

In 1983, after four years of state monitoring of the fire's movement and federal acquisition of 34 endangered properties in Centralia, a U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) study estimated that $663 million would be needed to extinguish the fire. Route 61, which travels through Centralia, suffered severe subsidence damage as a result of the fire burning beneath it. The commonwealth spent $500,000 to stabilize the road which was later closed indefinitely, nonetheless.

In response to the threat posed by the fire, state and federal officials convinced Congress to appropriate $42 million to OSM in 1984 for voluntary purchase and relocation of affected residences and businesses. OSM ceded administration of the appropriation to the commonwealth along with the deeds for all previously acquired properties.

Between 1985 and 1991, another 545 homes and businesses were sold to the commonwealth and the residents moved.

Because of the increasing threat posed by noxious gases and subsidence, in January 1992, the commonwealth received authorization from OSM to use condemnation procedures to acquire the remaining 53 properties and relocate the remaining residents.

During the next two years, some property owners filed preliminary legal objections to the condemnation procedures. The Borough, as owner of the minerals located under the municipality, brought suit against the de facto taking of coal by condemnation.

In November 1993, the Columbia County Court decided against the Borough. The Court denied the property owners' objections in February 1994. The State Supreme Court also ruled against the property owners in September 1995 and against the Borough in December 1995. On April 1, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the property owners' action, concluding all appeals.

The fire has continued to spread. To date, the commonwealth has spent nearly $40 million. The federal grant provided by OSM to fund the relocation program is currently set to expire on Dec. 31, 1997.

"We are committed to working with the people of Centralia so that they may be comfortably settled into appropriate and safe replacement housing," Dolence said. "Their safety is our only reason for urging relocation."

  Mine Fire History Mine Fire History Historical Photos
  Pictures From Today Mine Fire Chronology Visiting Centralia
  Centralia Then & Now 360? Virtual Tours Scientific Study
  Satellite, Aerial Photos Downtown Panoramic Centralia Books


Other Interesting Things




So you want to Visit Centralia PA?  What you should know before you go to Centralia PA.


The Real Disaster Is Above Ground: A Mine Fire and Social Conflict



What's near Centralia?

Plan your visit around one of Pennsylvania's best kept secrets located only 15 miles up the road from Centralia...

Amusement Park

Click Below for
 more details...

Amusement Park


Silent Hill & Centralia
Centralia PA inspires screenwriter Roger Avary during the making of the movie Silent Hill.
Read More Here...


Remembering ...
Byrnesville PA
By Mike Reilley

  Books about Centralia
  Maps of Centralia
  Around Town Today
  Local Attractions
  Personal Notes
  Additional Reading
  Haunted Centralia?
  Gerry McWilliams and
  the album "Centralia"
  Silent Hill Inspiration
  Other Mine Fires
  Search Centralia
  Centralia Sites/Books
Panoramic Virtual Tours:
Mine Fire Hot Spot
Downtown Centralia Mainstreet Centralia Damaged Hillside
  Centralia Infrared

Centralia PA in B&W Infrared
Infrared Photography
by Donald Davis

Video Tour
in Infrared of
Centralia PA
by Donald Davis


The Little Town That Was
by Donald Hollinger
Made in U.S.A. - 1987 movie that was filmed on location in Centralia PA See the opening Scene that started in Centralia during the peek of the mine fire disaster



Is Centralia Haunted?
Explore the possibility

The Real Disaster Is Above Ground: A Mine Fire and Social Conflict

Is there Hope
for Centralia?


Through the use of Nitrogen-Enhanced foam the Pinnacle mine fire was extinguished by Cummins Industries, Inc.  Cummins proposes to tackle the Centralia Mine fire and bring an end to the 
40 plus year fire.

Read this White Paper which evaluates the effectiveness of remotely applied nitrogen-enhanced foam to aid in efforts to isolate and suppress a mine fire.