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Why This Town Has Been On Fire For 50 Years

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In 1962, an underground fire started in the coal-mining town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. Fifty-three years later, that fire still burns. In this week’s episode of Reactions, we explain the history and science behind the Centralia mine fire. Does anyone still live there? How could the fire keep burning for so long, and why hasn’t it been extinguished? From a chemical standpoint, what is fire, anyway?

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Photo credits:
David DeKok, Centralia Photo Archive (at 3:19)

Music credits:
Reole - I Got My Own
Sublustris Nox - Lost In the Woods

Producer:
Elaine Seward

Writer:
Sam Kean

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Scientific consultants:
Steven Maguire
Darcy Gentlemen, Ph.D.

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