4 posts • Page 1 of 1
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- Joined: Mon. Oct. 20, 2008 4:36 am
- Location: Easton, Massachusetts
I was just wondering if anyone is familiar with the burning banks in Williamstown Pa. It was a coal mine that caught fire I believe in the 1940’s and has been burning since the 1970’s when they were finally able to extinguish it. I grew up in that town and the burning banks was pretty much my back yard. We used to play and ride our dirt bikes up there. You could see the smoke on some days and smell the sulfur. We used to hear stories when we were kids of people falling in and burning to death. I doubt they were true but it would scare the crap out of us. My grandfather was a coal miner and he owned a bar/lounge up there on the hill called the Sulfur End. All the old townies would hang out there and drink and play pool. Anybody ever been there? He had black lung and had one lung removed and I believe half of the other. I live in Massachusetts now but I try to get down to Pa as much as I can because my family is still there. A few years ago I took my kids up to where the burning banks used to be just to show them my old stomping grounds. It was nice cruising down memory lane. Picked up a few pieces of stray coal and ash just to sit around on the shelf for a reminder of the good ol’e days.
Although very young at the time I recall the burning banks of discarded material from the mines that were mostly rock but had small bits of coal mixed in that continued to feed the fires that were unable to be put out. Those banks over decades had acted as dams and accumulated rain water that at a point back in the late 60s or early 70s burst and a flood of water came down mountainside road and caused damage to some of the homes on ray st. After that happened the state acted and removed all of the banks to prevent any further problems.
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I don't remember your town's fire but I do remember driving through Carbondale with smoke coming out of the ground. I guess mine fires were more common than I knew.
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Never heard of that in Williamstown. We used to ride the banks up by Tower City in the 80's. I grew up 2 valleys north, God's country and God's people. You can figure it out Still living in the area.