50 Years of the Centralia Mine Fire

It seems hard to believe for those of us who grew up under the media coverage of the 1980s, but the Centralia mine fire has been burning for a half century as of this Sunday.

What started as a long sequence of unfortunate circumstances resulted in significant disruption for residents of the borough.  On May 27 1962, local firefighters set Centralia’s dump on fire in order to “clean things up a bit” for the Memorial Day festivities, as they had done so many times before.  But this year, things were a little different. The dump had been moved to a plot of land directly north of the Odd Fellows cemetery.  And although required by state law, the borough of Centralia failed to ensure that a clay barrier was properly installed between the dump and the nearby mine shafts. Continue reading 50 Years of the Centralia Mine Fire