Centralia, Pennsylvania: Centralia Mine FireCoal veins burning since 1961, almost all of the buildings and people are gone. Unsafe ground, noxious gases -- be careful.
Visitor Tips and News About Centralia Mine Fire
Town on Fire
We finally got to visit Centralia after learning of its story several years ago. It looks like there are still folks hanging onto their homes, even with a recent ruling against them. The municipal building is still there, along with the fire truck inside. The police car that has been noted to be inside in the past is no longer there. The warning signs apparently have been removed. We found the landfill next to the big cemetery. There were several disturbed areas that had smoke coming from them. We walked down the closed part of Hwy 61 to see how bad the road was. It was very interesting, but no smoke was to be seen there. There were several other people doing their own exploring of Centralia.[J. Saunders, 08/28/2013]
Recently, the last 10 residents have lost their fight to stay in the town, making the town officially without residents. For more story, watch the film "The Town That Was." Fire was started as they burned trash near a coal vein.[Lysa, 07/03/2012]
Centralia Mine Fire
Not much shows that the town exists other than paved streets that lead to vacant lots, with overgrown grass where houses used to be. There is an old cemetery at the end of a street. Only a small handful of homes remain. Be careful! We drove our car up a road -- got out and saw smoke coming a few yards off -- the ground can open up into sinkholes due to the fire causing death and harm, not to mention the toxic gasses. There were no "caution" signs posted.[WR, 01/20/2012]
This "town" is slowly disappearing. The grid-like streets are visible, but street signs are hard to come by. It is best to see this eerie "town" sooner than later. Curbs, stop signs, and the destroyed old Rt. 61 are what's left in this forgotten municipality.[Mike, 08/03/2010]
If you happen to be driving by already it might be interesting to look around a bit, but definitely not worth taking a trip to. Of what little there was of this town, not much of anything is left. The noticeable extent of the mine fire is just a little bit of smoke coming out of a few spots in the ground. No smoldering, no extreme heat, nothing that makes you go... wow, that's crazy. The photos people have on here of things like the crack in the road, etc are the entire extent of what you'll see, not just examples. The whole place is just covered in trash. It is very sad what happened there, but not worth your time to visit.[David, 04/22/2010]
Over the decades there has been less and less to see in Centralia. Even in its heyday, there weren't flames leaping from the ground, but some hot cracks, gaping pits, and many venting pipes. It's still a curiosity if you're in the Ashland area checking out other attractions.