A ton of coal was just taking up space in the basement of Steve Hronek's 90-year-old house, but to other people it was an alternative-fuel treasure. The knee-high pile of anthracite coal was down there in 1997 when Hronek bought the house, which once was heated with a low-tech coal-burning furnace.
He turned to a high-tech solution, offering the coal in an online classified ad to anyone who wanted it.
One dealer said that type of anthracite coal, higher in heat and lower in soot than common bituminous or soft coal, sells for $220 or more per ton, but Hronek just wanted his basement cleaned up.
The ad he posted Nov. 17 offered the coal for free — to anyone who was willing to haul the big, heavy chunks out of his basement in Cleveland Heights.
Responses from people looking for fuel started coming within 15 minutes and continued for two days, and people showed up with trucks.
Hronek says all the coal has been spoken for.