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The Commonwealth Court rejected arguments by seven Centralia property owners who say condemnation is no longer needed because the underground fire has moved and air quality in the borough has improved.

Most homes in Centralia were demolished in the 1980s after the slow-burning fire that began in 1962 at the town dump spread to the underground network of coal mines, threatening residents with poisoning gases and dangerous sinkholes.

The court upheld a 2010 ruling in county court that set fair market value for the properties that the commonwealth began condemning in 1993. The state court ruled Thursday that nothing would authorize a request by the property owners to stop the condemnation on the grounds that the public purpose for it no longer exists.

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