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Powderly Mine Fire

In 1942, the seam of coal that emerged from the ground in a nearby strip mine was ignited by spontaneous combustion caused people throwing trash. The fire has been burning ever since. The fire is moving through the mine workings and is about 400 acres in size, growing every day. Thousands have moved out of the city because of the fire and hundreds of houses were leveled. Two people were killed from carbon monoxide exposure in 1952. This was the first of three mine fires that would plague Carbondale for years to come.

One such fire is located near Russel Park, where the Powderly Colliery once stood. In 1995, people burning trash in an open strip mining pit caught a coal seem on fire. This is an all too familiar problem for Carbondale. An attempt to extinguish the fire was made by digging 150 foot trench down into the mine. This attempt was unsuccessful and if not contained, the fire can burn all the way to Scranton. The gases can be seen rising from pipes put down into the mine and cracks in the ground caused by the intense heat. Some of these pipes have been uncapped and the gases can be seen rising from them.

Though Centralia has been made famous because of its mine fires, Carbondale's fire are at least twice as big and have been deadly. More people have moved out of Carbondale, the only difference is that the whole town of Centralia is gone. Most of the people in Carbondale are seemingly unaware of the fire raging beneath them.

Note: The Powderly Mine fire is not to be confused with the Powderly Culm Bank fire, located a half mile away. The difference is that this fire actually stems from the mine, unlike the culm bank fire that burned out in 1996.



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