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Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire
     

Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire

4.5 4
by David Dekok
 

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How a modern-day mine disaster has turned a Pennsylvania community into a ghost town
• For much of its history, Centralia, Pennsylvania, had a population of around 2,000. By 1981, this had dwindled to just over 1,000—not unusual for a onetime mining town. But as of 2007, Centralia had the unwelcome distinction of being the state’s tiniest

Overview

How a modern-day mine disaster has turned a Pennsylvania community into a ghost town
• For much of its history, Centralia, Pennsylvania, had a population of around 2,000. By 1981, this had dwindled to just over 1,000—not unusual for a onetime mining town. But as of 2007, Centralia had the unwelcome distinction of being the state’s tiniest municipality, with a population of nine. The reason: an underground fire that began in 1962 has decimated the town with smoke and toxic gases, and has since made history. Fire Underground is the completely updated classic account of the fire that has been raging under Centralia for decades. David DeKok tells the story of how the fire actually began and how government officials failed to take effective action. By 1981 the fire was spewing deadly gases into homes. A twelve-year-old boy dropped into a steaming hole as a congressman toured nearby. DeKok describes how the people of Centralia banded together to finally win relocation funds—and he reveals what has happened to the few remaining residents as the fiftieth anniversary of the fire’s beginning nears.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the author’s previous book, Fire Underground“Enough bureaucratic villains to fill a Dickens novel.” —New York Times Book Review “DeKok has not only reported and written a compelling first-hand account of how an underground fire destroyed Centralia, but he even gives us an anatomy of how the disaster happened and analyzes its implications for one community, and in a sense for all of us. A thoughtful and thoroughly engrossing read!” —Lisa Scottoline, author of Dirty Blonde, a fictional story about Centralia"An excellent, unbiased chronicle devoid of the emotionalism which set resident upon resident." —Library Journal (for the book as previously titled, Unseen Danger)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762754274
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Edition description:
Revised edition
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
706,705
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

DeKok is a journalist who has been covering the Anthracite region of Pennsylvania since the late 1970s

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Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Jambosrule More than 1 year ago
This book chronicles the history of Centralia, PA from its earliest beginnings, to, as the final chapter says, "the end of almost everything." Dekok does a very good job not only covering the political and geological aspects of the devastating mine fire, but also recounts many of the locals trials and tribulations regarding their health risks, financial dilemmas, and conspiracy theories. I felt that, through Dekok's writing and attention to detail, that you could really empathize with the people of Centralia even though this is a most unique situation. There was a lot that Dekok had to cover to make the work complete: the government's ineptitude in both its attempt to extinguish the fire and to protect and compensate the townspeople, the actions of the citizens trying to get various government agencies to recognize their plight, and the gradual worsening of the fire and the various steps used to measure its intensity. I also thought that the dozen or so pages of pictures were fabulous; some of the photos of the smoke rising from the ground give a graphic detail that is very unique. The only issues I had with the book is that Dekok seemed to posture a little left in some of his political descriptions, but to be honest, there were so many government failures on both sides of the aisle that after a while it really did not seem to matter. I would have also liked to have seen a couple more maps of both the town's area and the impact zone. Overall, great book, so much so that I actually visited Centralia on my last vacation. When a book inspires you to visit a town that basically is no longer there, that is quite a complement.
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