Pa Residents Living Above Mine Fire Free To Stay

11.01.13 | Bob Price

The few remaining residents of a Pennsylvania coal town that was largely razed in the 1980s because of an underground mine fire that still burns today have gotten their wish — to be left alone, free to live out their lives there. A lengthy battle over eminent domain culminated this week when eight residents of Centralia settled their lawsuit against state officials who had been trying to evict them from their condemned homes. The settlement includes a cash payout of $350,000.  The mine fire was ignited in 1962 and threatened residents with poisonous gases and dangerous sinkholes. By the end of the 1980s, more than 1,000 people had moved and 500 structures were demolished. But some holdouts refused to go, even after their houses were seized in the early 1990s. They said the fire posed little danger to their part of town, accused government officials and mining companies of a plot to grab the rights to billions of dollars' worth of anthracite coal, and vowed to stay put.