Here’s a great 3 minute video about the “lost town” of Centralia Pennsylvania. The news segment was produced by WFMZ out of Allentown and first aired in 2009.
The video begins by introducing the story of Centralia and the mine fire that continues to burn under the borough. It then includes footage of Mary Umlauf and Joseph Coddington.
Both are former residents of Centralia PA. They are also the children of John Coddington, who most notably owned a gas station in the town. The two discuss their experiences of leaving the place they once called home.
The video goes on to show footage from around Centralia, including shots of rusted mine fire vents, Route 61, and shots of the burn zone overlooking the borough. The narrator describes how the mine fire began in 1962 after trash was burned in the town landfill. Howard Smith, a coal miner, gives his perspective on why the fire was able to catch so easily and burn for so long.
Reporter Joscelyn Moes visit one of the fissures in the abandoned section of Route 61. There, we are able to see steam rising from a large crack in the asphalt surface. Moes notes the smell of sulfur and measures the temperature of the steam at 92 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next the video report discusses the few people who remain in the town and the failed attempts to fight the fire. There are a number of historic photographs shown of Centralia Pennsylvania too.
The news segment ends with a montage of clips from around the town. Abandoned lots, crumbling roads, and overgrown sidewalks are all visible in the footage.
Mary Umlauf gets the last word. She states that the phrase “you can’t ever go home” is really true in Centralia PA. The town is gone. There is nothing to go back to.