Centralia, Pennsylvania: Centralia Mine Fire

Coal veins burning since 1961, almost all of the buildings and people are gone. Unsafe ground, noxious gases -- be careful.

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Graffiti Highway.

Centralia/Graffiti Highway

We stopped by the Graffiti Highway and the Assumption of the Blessed Mary Church (the only church remaining in Centralia). Centralia is an old coal mining town that is a near ghost town now with only 10 people remaining because there has been an underground coal mining fire, that has been burning since 1962. Most roads lead to nowhere and it's virtually overgrown.

The Graffiti Highway is a part of Route 61 that had to be shut down after the road started to buckle and become unstable. Many people bring spray paint to leave their mark on this 3/4 mile stretch of highway.

[Tabitha Pauley, 12/10/2016]

Sign points to fire.

Centralia Mine Fire

If you stop in Centralia when the weather is very warm, you probably won't see much smoke coming from the ground. But in the fall or winter, you won't miss it. We spoke with someone from the town and were told there are still five residents.

The view from the area near the cemetery is still one of the best views in the area. If you are looking to take in some fall foliage, this is a great place to visit. But do take time to think about all those who were forced to leave the area. And yes, the signs all appear to be gone. There is a tree that points to where the "Fire" is so you will know where to look. If you get a chance to walk on the old road, take it. If you have kids with you, keep an eye on them. There is an active fire not far below your feet.

[Bigfoot & Squirrel, 10/14/2013]

Cracked roadbed.

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]
Centralia: Town Atop a Mine Fire

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, 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]

Centralia Mine Fire

Route 61/54, Centralia, PA
7 mi. W of I-81, north of Ashland, east of Mount Carmel. Rt. 61/54.
Gases are considered dangerous, proceed at your own risk.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Whistler's Mother StatueWhistler's Mother Statue, Ashland, PA - 2 mi.
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine TourPioneer Tunnel Coal Mine Tour, Ashland, PA - 2 mi.
Pioneer Mom with Scary ChildPioneer Mom with Scary Child, Frackville, PA - 6 mi.
In the region:
The Hershey Story, Hershey, PA - 39 mi.

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