Carbondale West Side Mine Fire

The Carbondale Mine Fire was an underground mine fire located under the west side neighborhood of the city of Carbondale, PA. The fire was first discovered in 1946 and burned for years in abandoned workings, until an effort began in the 1950s to flood the mines and extinguish it. This proved unsuccessful, and in 1960, work commenced to completely dig out and extinguish the fire.  Work would take over a decade to complete. It is said, that in the excavation, more earth was dug up than the construction of the Panama Canal! Although much attention has been brought to the ever popular mine fire in Centralia, the Carbondale fire differed in that there were 2 fatalities. In 1952, as the fire spread under several homes, carbon monoxide crept up into the houses and asphyxiated a two residents. Dozens more were treated for sickness caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. The fire forced 1000 residents to relocate, destroyed 500 buildings and caused millions of dollars in damage. In 1986, monitoring boreholes were drilled by the Office of Surface Mining to monitor the mine workings to ensure the fire was contained or eliminated.  By 2014 the fire has officially been declared extinguished and the area completely redeveloped.

Bureau of Mines photos from 1970.