Womer Household

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A citizen of Centralia and worker at the Centralia office of Pennsylvania National Bank. Around the time of the Stearns Service Corporation fly ash barrier project, Helen became the "unofficial leader" of concerned South Street residents (category). Along with the other concerned citizens, wrote a letter to congressman Daniel Flood to get a chance to explain why excavation was needed instead of the fly ash barrier. Flood agreed to meet Friday, June 13 at Helen's house to discuss the matter. Flood was convinced and a small trench moving a mere 48,000 cubic feet of earth was to be dug in conjunction with the continuing fly ash barrier project. At a town meeting on 7 September 1978, Helen learned that her house would have to be razed to properly implement the trench expansion. Convinced this was part of the conspiracy to grab coal, as well as the thought of having to deal with a mortgage for a new home, she became one to fight for a solution to the mine fire that did not involve anyone losing their house.


On 19 June 1981, there was some action taken to begin relocating some families. Helen stated that "at this time" they did not want their property appraised as they were not yet interested in moving, still assuming something could be done. But they did not necessarily want to lose out on the assistance either, to possibly be taken advantage of in the future.


On 3 November 1981, Helen appeared at a Centralia Council meeting with an attempt to hold a "Centalia Unity" meeting to try to get all residents to unify on a point of view. This was in response to Concerned Citizens having been to visit with officials previously, as well as a Nightline appearance on TV, fearing that her theories and ideas would be forgotten amongst the bout of media. Ultimately, despite suggestions of unification, she hoped to bring everyone to her point of view, citing examples without evidence but good showmanship that would make it apparent that the fire was "never under" Centralia and in fact had left. She would further suggest that many supposed high gas readings in homes were due to other factors, such as cigarette smoke, stove gas, or even skunks.


On 23 September 1982, at a meeting of Concerned Citizens, Helen Womer blamed the group for the community's divisiveness and further said that the group's proposal of relocation was destructive.


After Concerned Citizens collapsed due to the threat against David Lamb, the reborn group Centralia Committee for Human Development merged into the United Centralia Area Mine Fire Task Force, Helen declared Unity Day on 6 March 1983.


A "Congratulations" from the Residents to Save the Borough of Centralia in the 1991 Centralia 125 Special Anniversary Edition

After a report presented 12 July 1983, which essentially spelled the death of Centralia, another group that included Helen was the Residents to Save the Borough of Centralia, which again existed to deny that relocation was necessary, and refuse any drastic action that would destroy the town. Ultimately this was to no avail, as the citizens were to be relocated a few months later.

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