A fire has been burning in an Ohio coal mine since 1884. - FactzPedia

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A fire has been burning in an Ohio coal mine since 1884.

 

A fire has been burning in an Ohio coal mine since 1884.


 

On November 13, 1884, the New Straitsville coal mine workers decided that they’d had enough.

Sick of unfair working conditions, they decided to go on strike.

They didn’t just go on strike, though. Instead, they set the whole mine on fire by pushing a blazing mine cart deep into the mine.

That’s how the story goes, anyway. We know that the mine is still on fire today and is unlikely to go out any time soon.

By best estimates, only 13 out of 30 square miles (33 out of 77 square kilometers) have burned away so far! 

In 1884, striking miners pushed burning coal cars into a mine owned by the New Straitsville Mining Company, setting the mine ablaze. The fire still burns underground to this day.

The New Straitsville Mining Company established the community of New Straitsville, about fifty miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio, in 1870. The town provided housing for the company's workers. Over the next decade, the town grew quickly, exceeding four thousand people by 1880. Most of the community's inhabitants worked in the New Straitsville Mining Company's coalmines.

In 1884, tensions broke out between the New Straitsville Mining Company's management and its workers over wages. The miners proceeded to strike. After several months, a small group of union members decided to sabotage the mines. They put timbers in coal cars, soaked the wood with oil, set the lumber on fire, and then pushed the cars into the mine. The fire quickly spread to the coal seam underground. Reportedly, the coal seam was fourteen feet across and extended an undetermined distance into the Earth. It purportedly took several days for the fire to be discovered. By that point, it was too late to stop the fire's spread. As a result of the fire, the mine closed.

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