How long will Centralia’s coal seam fire burn for? In short it’s probably going to continue burning for a really, really long time.
The mine fire in Centralia, PA began when the town’s landfill was lit on fire in order to clean it up for Memorial Day 1962. This means that the fire has already been burning for well over 50 years!
Through the decades, the intensity of the coal seam fire has risen and fallen. During the 1960s and 1970s, little was done in part because the fire was neither moving quickly nor threatening many residents of Centralia, Pennsylvania.
That changed significantly in the early 1980s. By this time, the fire moved quickly under parts of Centralia and raged with fearsome intensity. Hot mine gasses spewed from the ground and into homes. Residents were sickened by carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. One boy, Todd Domboski, was almost killed as the ground gave way under him and enveloped him in steaming hot mine fumes!
Numerous studies have been done of the Centralia, PA geology and the abandoned coal mines under the town. Unfortunately, none have been able to draw any firm conclusions about the projected path of the fire and how much coal is left to burn.
A few say there is hardly any coal left to burn, and the fire is nearly out. Many others, like the one cited in the Christian Science Monitor in 2010, estimate there is easily enough coal under the town to burn for another 250 years. That means it will be another two centuries until the Centralia coal seam fire is finally extinguished!
Whatever the case, it seems pretty clear that the fire has had and will continue to have a lasting impact on anyone who chooses to live in that region of Pennsylvania. As one painted sign in the town used to read “Centralia Mine Fire Is Our Future!”
My family members once live in Centralia, A family of 9! My grand father was a coal miner, he had a accident, lost his arm and was work terminated. The family departed for Phila. by train. My father was born in 1903 one block from a coal mine in a local house. The area was in front of the Orthodox Greek/Russian Church. My last visit to Centralia was in 1994.
Martin, I was just looking through a family history written by my grandfather and I believe we may be distant relatives. My grandfather wrote the same story about his grandfather losing his hand in the mines and then moving to Philadelphia. If you get this, find me on Facebook Patrick Caulfield (Maryland Institute College of Art).
I wish I could revitalize this town. It’d be so cool to see it rebuilt 🙂
It will never happen as sad as that is.
The thought of the waste of fuel and contribution to climate change makes me sad.
help us stop it plz
I grew up in luzerne cty. Newport Twp. Glen Lyon pa. Surrounded by mine fires. It smelled like sulpher. Centralia is to be pitied…such a lovely town.
i feel better for you and i hope they stop it too i live in dover pa it is good here come and live here.
Can numerous “carbon dioxide bombs” put the fire out ?
Can cruize missles blow some dirt over the buring areas ?
Can heat resistant bull dozers push dirt over the buring areas ?
have you witness a burning sulphur before, if no. thats what centralia fire looks like, i have carried numerous research about it.
Wouldn’t installing year long greenhouses be a possibility ?
I’m guessing with such a unfortunate source of heat underground, the energy could be used to grow things.
Put this out, global warming