A look at some underground fires in recent US history

AP News
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Posted: Oct 06, 2015 4:09 PM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Underground fires like the one smoldering at a St. Louis-area landfill are not unprecedented. Here are some other notable fires in recent U.S. history:

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MAY 1962, CENTRALIA, PENNSYLVANIA: Trash that was deliberately burned in a landfill sets off a fire in an abandoned coal mine shaft. At the time, the town had a population of 1,100. Fifty-three years later, the blaze still smolders beneath what is now essentially a ghost town.

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MAY 1972, KELLOGG, IDAHO: In one of the nation's worst mining disasters, an underground fire breaks out in a silver mine about eight miles from Kellogg. Ninety-one miners died, all by carbon monoxide poisoning.

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OCTOBER 1985, EASTON, PENNSYLVANIA: An underground fire breaks out beneath downtown Easton, blowing off several manhole covers, causing widespread power outages and forcing the evacuation of about 100 people. Less serious fires followed in November and February 1986.

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JANUARY 2006, LOGAN COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA: Two miners die when a conveyer belt catches fire in the Aracoma Coal Co.'s mine. Mine owner Massey Energy Co.'s Aracoma Coal subsidiary paid $4.2 million in criminal fines and civil penalties stemming from the blaze.

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NOVEMBER 2013, FRANKLIN COUNTY, WASHINGTON: Fire is discovered at the closed Pasco Sanitary Landfill in Washington State. The fire was found in a small area where municipal waste and shredded tire debris were dumped. Nearly two years later, it continues to burn despite attempts to smother it with soil.

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DECEMBER 2013, SOMERSET, COLORADO: Underground fires at the Elk Creek coal mine force it to close out of concern that miners could be hurt. The closure contributed to lost coal production in Colorado and the decision to cut jobs for several miners.