Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire

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9780595092703: Unseen Danger: A Tragedy of People, Government, and the Centralia Mine Fire

Award-winning journalist David DeKok tells, for the first time, how the Centralia mine fire really started in 1962. He shows how local, state and federal government officials failed to take effective action, allowing the fire to move underneath the small town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. By early 1981, the fire was sending deadly gases into homes, forcing the federal government to install gas alarms. A 12-year-old boy dropped into a steaming hole in the ground wrenched open by the fire's heat on Valentine's Day as the region's congressman toured nearby. DeKok tells how the people of Centralia banded together to demand help from the government, finally winning money to relocate much of the town.

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About the Author:

David DeKok covered the Centralia mine fire for more than eight years as a reporter for The News-Item, Shamokin, Pa. A graduate of Hope College, he is a recipient of the National Press Club's Freedom of the Press Award. He lives in Harrisburg, Pa., with his wife and two daughters, and is a business reporter for The Patriot-News.

From Library Journal:

photog/environment Coal mine fires are not unusual in Pennsylvania, but the one that is the subject of these books certainly is. It has been burning uncontrollably underground for 24 years, generally unseen, but releasing smoke and gases into the atmosphere and homes of Centralians. It is an environmental disaster of the magnitude of Love Canal, with similar citizen versus governmental agency wrangling, and a combination of inaction and ineptitude that has destroyed the town. In these first books published on the topic, the authors both try to present all sides of the issue. DeKok is a journalist from a neighboring town who followed the story for his newspaper and has gone to great lengths to document the facts. His Unseen Danger is an excellent, unbiased chronicle devoid of the emotionalism which set resident upon resident. Photojournalist Jacobs, on the other hand, focuses on the personal side. She interviewed residents, who describe their feelings regarding daily life in a stricken area and offer opinions as to how the health and safety problems should have been resolved. Their words appear as captions to the 93 striking black-and-white photos. The two books complement one another nicely, and will enlighten concerned citizens, environmentalists, sociologists, and public policy makers. Sondra Brunhumer, Western Michigan Univ. Libs., Kalmazoo
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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David DeKok
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