It’s May 1962, and a vast landfill forms a blight on the town of Centralia, Philadelphia. Keen to wipe it out for good, officials douse the unsightly trash in flames. But as they wait for the fires to die down, they slowly realize that something has gone wrong. In fact, they’ve inadvertently started an inferno that will rage for decades to come.
The story of Centralia began back in the 18th century, when settlers purchased the area from local Native Americans. And within a few decades, the land had passed into the ownership of Robert Morris – one of the men responsible for signing America’s Declaration of Independence.
After Morris went bankrupt, the district was purchased by a French sailor. He had apparently heard rumors that valuable anthracite coal deposits were to be found there. However, it wasn’t until 1854 that the settlement really took off. That year, the Mine Run Railroad arrived in the town, which back then went by the name of Bull’s Head.