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7 modern-day ghost towns

By: Matt Hickman on June 19, 2013, 5:49 p.m.
Centralia, Pennsylvania, modern ghost town, coal fire

Photo: Kelly Michals/Flickr

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Centralia, Pa.

Located in covered bridge-heavy Columbia County in northeastern Pennsylvania, the borough of Centralia is without a doubt North America’s most notorious modern near ghost town. That’s right, near ghost town.

Despite government buyouts, ZIP code revocations and eminent domain squabbles, some tenacious old-timers still live in this town that continues to burn from the inside out due to an underground coal mine fire ignited over 50 years ago.

Yes, Centralia is that town, best known for its empty streets, toxic smoke and “Silent Hill” associations; abandoned en masse in the 1980s due to concerns about lethal gases (not to mention the incident when a 12-year-old boy was swallowed up by a steaming sinkhole in his grandmother’s backyard); a town where the ground is so hot you can light a match on contact and the fire is expected to burn for another 250 years or so.