In 1962, a mine fire started in Centralia, Penn., and, 50 years later, it’s still burning. It is believed that city workers set a heap of trash on fire in an abandoned mine, and that heap was not properly extinguished. For decades, the city tried to put out the fire to no avail. After extremely unsafe levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide were detected, and a 12-year-old boy that fell into a fire-created sinkhole in his backyard became a national news story, Congress allocated $42 million in relocation funding in 1984. Most families have since relocated. There are still about 10 residents of Centralia, though they began formal eviction proceedings in 2009.
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