Centralia PA, Devils Fire

by And
rew Shecktor


"A town cursed, a town destined to burn by the very commodity it was founded upon."





Andrew Shecktor






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First in a series of small town legend novels by author Andrew Shecktor, this novel combines history with fiction and is about the town of Centralia, PA, which was lost due to a coal mine fire which has been unable to be extinguished. It details the history and offers a fanciful story behind the history. Sample from the book: “More water! More water damn it! The fire is spreading!” From behind a fire pumper a soot covered black-faced fireman came running and shouting. “Around the other side! Quickly!.” Three more fire fighters joined in, sweat pouring from their brows in the 83 degree heat, made many times hotter by the raging fire, dragging limp cloth hose toward the quickly spreading fire that was reaching out in anger from the pit. “Charge the line,” screamed a scrawny teenage fireman. The hose they were carrying quickly filled and whipped along like a disturbed snake. The fire, in the pit of an old abandoned strip mine near the Odd Fellows cemetery was started once or twice a year to burn excess municipal rubbish, but had never gotten out of control, as did this one. This fire was started on May 27 to clean up rubbish and municipal waste in preparation for the Memorial Day celebration, and was then extinguished by the fire department and was thought to have gone out. It had again re-kindled on May 29 and was put out late in the evening. It again re-kindled on June 12, though not as bad. Now it had re-kindled yet again, this time with a vengeance, as if set by Satan himself. None of the locals had ever seen such an inferno. This was no ordinary fire. The flames leaping from the ground formed shapes resembling demons from Hell, the heat was melting fire apparatus staged many hundreds of feet from the pit.
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