The Fire That's Been Going for Half a Century | Popular Science
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Centralia, PA -- On May 27, 1962, Centralia, PA was getting ready for Memorial Day festivities. When the town ordered the removal of a huge pile of trash sitting in the town landfill, the decision to burn it ultimately caused the town to decline into oblivion when it started a fire that's lasted half a century.
The landfill was on top of an abandoned coal mine. As the fire ate away at the garbage, it got into the seams leading to the forgotten coal mine below and began to smolder. It began to release soot, heat, and deadly carbon monoxide into the air.
While the local fire department tried to extinguish it, it just kept reigniting. Local community members began passing out in their homes as carbon monoxide came up from the ground. The fire began to form cracks in the ground, allowing more toxins into the air.