Residents Of ‘Silent Hill’ Town Allowed To Stay Despite Air Toxicity, Says Settlement

Dusten Carlson

Residents of Centralia, Pennsylvania have beaten condemnation proceedings that started in 1993, and will be allowed to retain ownership of their properties and stay in the area for the rest of their lives, if they wish.

A mine fire began to spread underneath the town decades ago, causing most of its residents to flee for fear of sinkholes and poisonous gases. Though most of the structures in the town are gone and the ZIP code has been revoked, the few citizens left in town have been fighting for their right to stay in their homes until they die ever since.

“We’re very pleased,” said attorney Don Bailey, who represented seven property owners in a federal lawsuit against the Columbia County Redevelopment Authority, state Department of Community and Economic Development and others, according to The Patriot News.

Centralia’s opponents were also pleased with the outcome.

“We’re glad we were able to resolve this in an amicable way,” DCED spokesman Steve Kratz said.

The seven remaining residents will receive a total of $218,000 for their properties.

The seven will receive a total of $218,000 for their properties, he said.

Centralia is now considered a “ghost town” and is the least-populated municipality in Pennsylvania.

The town has an interesting link to pop culture, as well. Roger Avary, who wrote the screenplay for the 2006 film adaptation of the popular video game franchiseSilent Hill, used Centralia as an inspiration for his interpretation of the town. The history of the film version of the town is explored in a subplot by a character played by English actor Sean Bean.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons]