10 Toxic Towns You Still Can’t Live In
Centralia, Pennsylvania, USA
Shown here in the late 1960s, the picture-perfect Pennsylvania coal-mining town of Centralia hides a dark secret.
In mysterious circumstances on 27 May 1962, the town’s landfill, which was sitting atop an old strip mine, was set alight. The blaze soon spread to the deeper coal mines beneath the town and the inferno quickly spiraled out of control.
Locals only became aware of the full extent of the blaze in 1979 and it wasn’t until 1981 when a resident fell into a sinkhole that the fire hit the headlines. By this time, smoke and poisonous gases were billowing from fissures that had opened up in the ground and residents had begun falling ill.
Realizing the subterranean fire was out of control and almost impossible to quell, Congress allocated millions of dollars for relocation efforts in 1983.
By 1990, the majority of the town’s householders had been bought out, reducing the population from well over 1,000 to just 63. More than 500 properties were razed to the ground. In 2006, only a few homes remained, including this unstable row house.
Famous for all the wrong reasons, the creepy abandoned town provided the inspiration for survival horror video game Silent Hill.
These days just a handful of structures and fewer than a dozen stubborn residents remain in the condemned town, which is out of bounds to newcomers. Experts believe the hellish fire could burn for at least another 100 years.