The Centralia mine fire is a coal seam fire that has been burning underneath the borough of Centralia, Pennsylvania, United States since May 27, 1962 or earlier. There are many theories to how it started, but only three are popular enough to be recognized. The fire has resulted in almost the entire town being abandoned. The population has dwindled down from 2,761 in 1890 to 10 in 2010. Even the ZIP code for Centralia was revoked by the United States Postal Service in 2002.
"This was a world where no human could live, hotter than the planet Mercury, its atmosphere as poisonous as Saturn's. At the heart of the fire, temperatures easily exceeded 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit [540 degrees Celsius]. Lethal clouds of carbon monoxide and other gases swirled through the rock chambers. Author, David DeKok, Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986)
Information from Wikipedia.
Centralia Mine Disaster
March 25, 1947
In the Centralia mine disaster on March 25, 1947, the Centralia No. 5 coal mine exploded near the town of Centralia, Illinois, killing 111 people. The Mine Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor reported the explosion was caused when an underburdened shot or blown-out shot ignited coal dust. At the time of the explosion, 142 men were in the mine; 65 were killed by burns and other injuries and 45 were killed by afterdamp. Eight men were rescued, but one died from the effects of afterdamp. Only 31 miners escaped.
American folksinger Woody Guthrie wrote and recorded a song about the Centralia mine disaster entitled The Dying Miner. Guthrie's recording of the song is now available on the Smithsonian-Folkways recording Struggle (1990). Songwriter Bucky Halker rearranged this song and recorded it for his Welcome to Labor Land CD (Revolting Records, 2002), a collection of Halker's renditions of labor songs from Illinois. Halker also recorded his version of "New Made Graves of Centralia" for his CD Don't Want Your Millions (Revolting Records, 2000). Halker based his version on an original recording of this song in the Country Music Hall of Fame, but the author and recording artist were unknown.