The Town That Was (2007)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - Social History, Tragedies & Catastrophes  |   Run Time - 71 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Jason Buchanan

Filmmakers Chris Perkel and Georgie Roland offer an affecting and informative portrait of a Centralia, PA, a once-thriving mining town that caught fire back in 1962, and has been burning out of control ever since. It started as a simple trash fire, but the flames ignited a seam of anthracite coal just beneath the earth's surface. Over 20 years later, suffocating clouds of smoke and deadly carbon monoxide gas were still billowing from fissures in the ground, and the local population had been reduced from 1600 to about eleven. Lethargic after struggling to quell the flames to no avail, the government was only pressed into action after a young boy nearly perished by falling into a smoldering mine subsidence. Even then, the government scoffed at the cost of extinguishing the fire, instead opting to relocate the town's entire population and raze the local buildings. Today, the youngest resident in Centralia is John Lokitis, a man who has dedicated his entire life to keeping his hometown alive, even as it's ashes swirl all around him. While Centralia may have been forgotten by most, it is still John's home, and he looks forward to the day it will thrive again. Additional interviews with historians, politicians, former residents, and geographical scholars provide additional insight into the town known to some as the "real" Silent Hill.

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Keywords

disaster, mine, town