Was a lone train car labeled "Molten Sulfur" abandoned with molten sulfur inside in Marietta, Oklahoma? No, that's not true: A spokesperson for the railway on which the car was sitting said that the train car was empty and was being repaired to stop it from potentially derailing. At the time of writing, the train car was not sitting on the tracks in Marietta.
The claim originated in a live video (archived here) published on Facebook on November 7, 2023, by the page American News Network. The person who captured the video identified himself as Chris Sanders. He was discussing a train car labeled "Molten Sulfur" that was left alone on train tracks in Marietta, a city and county seat in Love County, Oklahoma. The caption of the video read:
Sulphur Train Car abandoned while FBI says we need to be on alert. If it is empty, then why and where is the material? If it's full, then where is it going and why was this left here in between Dallas and Oklahoma City after the FBI published an alert? This looks suspicious and can make 2 million pounds of gun powder. We also have missing fertilizer that is equivalent to 15 OKC building events. Just a heads up. This is in Marietta, Oklahoma. Be vigilant and stay alert USA. 🇺🇸 🙏 ❤️
In the video, Sanders said he believed the train car was left in Marietta intentionally by the federal government to kickstart an act of terror.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Nov 22 19:59:48 2023 UTC)
Lead Stories found where the train car was located in Marietta using footage from Sanders' video. Between the 4:06-4:07 mark of the video, Sanders passed by Martin Luther King Avenue. We searched for the street and found that it was previously known as Front Avenue (archived here), which is how it is still listed in Google Maps. Using Google Maps, we found that the train car would have been located near the intersection of Main Street and Front Avenue (archived here).
On November 22, 2023, Lead Stories called the city of Marietta and found out that the train car was located on a track near Main Street and Front Avenue belonging to BNSF Railway. We confirmed that the railway belongs to BNSF by examining the information found on OpenRailwayMap, a website that displays information about railway infrastructure around the world. A screenshot of the Red Rock Subdivision (archived here) of BNSF, which runs through the area where the train car was located, is included below:
Lead Stories then contacted BNSF for comment on the claim. Kendall Sloan, the director of external communications for BNSF, told us in an email sent on November 29, 2023, that the claim was untrue:
The car you are referring to was set out there due to a mechanical defect to prevent it from derailing.
It has been repaired and was pulled this weekend.
These claims in the video are absolutely false.
Lead Stories followed up with Sloan to ask if there was any information about whether the train car contained molten sulfur while sitting alone, and was full of molten sulfur. She replied with another email sent on November 29, 2023:
No, it did not. It was empty.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, molten sulfur (archived here) is a highly flammable solid that can release toxic gases. However, as explained above, Lead Stories found no proof that this particular train car held molten sulfur that was being used to create a domestic terrorism explosive.