Fact Check

Obama Quietly Orders Millions of Disposable Coffins?

The Obama administration has not ordered $1 billion worth of 'disposable' coffins for use with 'FEMA camps.'

Published Jan. 25, 2014

The Obama administration has ordered $1 billion worth of 'disposable coffins' for use with 'FEMA camps.'

<!-- Original title: " Coffin Corner" -->A several-year-old conspiracy rumor about the U.S. government's supposedly having stockpiled thousands of plastic coffins (or coffin liners) for use in conjunction with "FEMA internment camps" was resurrected in January 2014 by an article positing that the Obama administration had "quietly ordered $1 billion worth" of "disposable FEMA coffins":

Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2014]

Wondering if this outrageous rumor is true. I saw it on facebook:Obama Quietly Orders One Billion Dollars Worth of Disposable FEMA Coffins

Obama has been operating behind the scenes to prepare an action in case of an American revolt that will not only squash a revolution, but kill many of its participants. The first step of this action would be to disarm the American people, and throw anyone that is, or might be, a threat into a detention center — a FEMA camp. During the course of the revolt, many will die, both in battle and in the camps — an inevitable circumstance Obama is already preparing for.The current President of the United States, amongst other things, has already ordered $1 Billion dollars worth of disposable coffin liners. Around the country is stored the 5 million, what will be, FEMA coffins in various locations.

This rumor resurfaced in October 2014 during the midst of public concern over an outbreak of Ebola, with claims that the coffins (or coffin liners) were being stockpiled in anticipation of a large number of fatalities from that disease in the U.S. However, the story and pictures are several years old, the objects shown have nothing to do with Ebola or FEMA or any other agency of the U.S. government, and the pictured items were around long before Barack Obama was first elected to the presidency of the U.S. in 2008.

What's shown in the photos displayed with the "FEMA camp" story are not "plastic coffins" or "disposable coffins," but rather what's known as burial vaults or grave liners. These liners don't hold human remains in themselves; they're a protective shell that coffins are placed into before interment in areas where water seepage or ground subsidence is an issue.

As the Morgan County Citizen reported in 2008, tens of thousands of these liners were stored on leased land in Madison, Georgia, back in the 1990s by their manufacturer, the nearby Vantage Products Corporation (based in Covington, Georgia), for distribution to other areas on an as-needed basis. Since the coffin liners are made to withstand the elements, there was no need for Vantage to store them indoors, so they simply leased a large, unused outdoor field for use as a warehouse.

Nonetheless, Vantage's storage situation eventually gave rise to wild conspiracy theories which flared up in 2008, rumors that claimed some half million of the liners (about ten times the actual number being stored in Georgia) were the property of the U.S. government and were being stockpiled in anticipation of a biological disaster, the implementation of martial law, or the imprisonment of thousands of U.S. citizens in FEMA-run concentration camps:

Type in "Madison, GA" under Google's Blog Search, and it shows up on the first page. Search "Madison, GA" on YouTube, and it's the first video that shows up. Web sites like Alex Jones' Infowars.com and AboveTopSecret.com are talking about it.As of late, some of these sources have started to link the government, particularly the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to rows and rows of black, plastic "coffins," 500,000 to be exact, currently being stored outdoor in a field within the city limits of Madison.

Theories abound as to whether these are being stored near a major transportation hub (Atlanta) in an effort by the government to prepare for American victims of biological warfare, or whether they are being stored for a natural, or man-made, disaster. Even more sinister, some of these sources speculate that these "coffins" are part of a conspiracy on the part of the government that involves the institution of martial law, the separation of desirable and non-desirable citizens, according to government opinion, and the establishment of American concentration camps, some of which are currently functional, according to these sources.

"Yep, these are cheap plastic coffins. Hundreds of thousands of them. Don't believe it? Why coffins? Why in the middle of Georgia?" the entry "Half a Million Plastic Coffins?" on Alex Jones' Infowars.com, dated July 18, states. "Well, apparently the Government is expecting a half million people to die relatively soon, and the Atlanta Airport is a major airline traffic hub, probably the biggest in the country, which means Georgia is a prime base to conduct military operations and coordination. It is also the home of the CDC, the Center for Disease Control. I don't want to alarm anyone, but usually you don't buy 500,000 plastic coffins 'just in case something happens,' you buy them because you know something is going to happen. These air tight seal containers would be perfect to bury victims of plague or biological warfare in, wouldn't they?"

While the origins of the theories are unclear, there are blog postings that date back to December 2007 (AboveTopSecret.com), although the majority of postings have come within the latter half of July.

And, according to Vantage Products Corporation Vice President of Operations Michael Lacey, that's exactly when the calls started pouring in.

"It's been going on for quite a while, about a week," Lacey said.

Lacey maintains that the theories regarding the property, and what's on it, aren't quite accurate.

The "coffins" aren't coffins at all, according to Lacey. Instead, they are burial vaults, "the outer container for caskets," Lacey said, placed in the ground before the coffin to protect the coffin and maintain level ground above.

There are currently 50,000 of these burial vaults on the property, according to Lacey. As the vaults were placed on the site around 1997 or 1998, there may have been as many as 70,000 or 80,000 to begin with.

"It's nowhere near the quantity they talk about on the Internet," Lacey said.

This quantity of burial vaults, Vantage's Standard Air Seal model in black, also the least expensive model and the most in-demand, was made to cater to what Lacey calls the funeral industry's "pre-need." This "pre-need" occurs when people make arrangements for their funeral before they actually pass away, so that the family doesn't have to go through the perceived stress of making the arrangements. When these arrangements are made, the products are paid for; obviously, though, they are not yet needed.

So, Vantage stores the product until the person dies, and the product is needed.

Further, pallets of the burial vaults are moved truckloads at a time, as there is space for a palate at the [destination].

Contrary to the beliefs of the theorists, then, the burial vaults aren't owned by the government, or FEMA. Instead, they're owned by individuals, or not yet sold.

"They're not owned by any one individual, company or the government," Lacey said.

Further, Vantage leases the land, located at 1200 Madison Industrial Boulevard, from Conyers Welding & Supply and has for four to five years, a fact confirmed by Conyers Welding & Supply. Conyers Welding & Supply took over the lease when the property was purchased from Robert Usury in 2000. Usury purchased the property in 1989, according to information provided by the Morgan County Tax Assessor's Office and the Morgan County Online Public Property Portal.

The answer as to why the vaults are being stored in Madison? To put it simply, the Covington-based manufacturer got a good deal close to home.

"It was the most cost-effective place," Lacey said.

(Images from Google Maps show that the liners are now gone from the Madison location; the last of them was apparently removed sometime around 2010.)<!-- ORIGINAL CHANGELOG Last updated:   10 February 2015
25 January 2014 - original 13 October 2014: updated 10 February 2015: relisted -->


Purcell, Kathryn.   "Theories Surface Around Vaults Stored in Madison."     Morgan County Citizen.   11 October 2008.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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