All they ever wanted was to be left alone, free to live out their lives in the central Pennsylvania coal town whose population had fled an underground mine fire.
After 20 years, the residents of Centralia have finally gotten their wish.
A lengthy battle over eminent domain culminated this week when eight residents settled their lawsuit against state officials who had been trying to evict them from their condemned homes – the only homes left standing after most of this Columbia County town was razed in the 1980s due to a still-burning coal-mine fire.
The settlement, notice of which was filed in U.S. District Court, allows the residents to stay in their homes for as long as they live. It also includes a cash payout of $349,500.