- Authorities are still trying to determine
what was spread in a downtown Wichita office building and who put it there.
- Hazardous material crewmen from McConnell
Air Force Base entered a decontamination tent set up on Market Street after
an unknown white powder was found in the State Office building.
- Several hundred workers were evacuated
and a four-block square area of downtown was blocked off Tuesday after
a suspicious white powder was found in the Finney State Office Building.
- Federal and local investigators worked
into the night trying to identify the substance and locate the person who
put it there. Larry McCormick, who supervises FBI offices in Kansas and
western Missouri, said at a late evening news conference that the building
would be closed today while the investigation continues. "No one will
go back into the building until we determine it's safe," he said.
"We are treating this matter very seriously."
- Preliminary field tests indicate no hazardous
material was present in the building, McCormick said. Further results will
be released this morning, he added. Many employees said a note found in
the building, at the corner of Market and William, said the powder was
the infectious disease anthrax. Law authorities said they did not know
what the substance was, and refused to confirm or deny a threat had been
made or whether it was a hoax.
- Anthrax is a disease of cattle and sheep
that can be transmitted to man; it is used in biological weapons and is
one of the most deadly biological agents ever known. A handful of people
who came in contact with the substance were decontaminated in a special
tent set up in the middle of Market Street by the McConnell Air Force Base
- William Seck, who is in charge of the
Wichita FBI office, said officials were taking every possible precaution.
"No immediate danger to the public health is noted,'' Seck said.
- Officials said that no one who was in
the building experienced any symptoms of exposure to a hazardous substance.
The FBI got involved because federal law gives them authority over crimes
involving weapons of mass destruction, Seck said. Authorities said they
didn't know how the substance got in the building.
- Hundreds of people were evacuated around
11 a.m. when the substance was found spread on several floors in the office
building and the elevators.
- But authorities also kept nearly 200
employees in the building, who said they may have been exposed. Around
4 p.m., most of them were allowed to leave, but instructed to shower and
put their clothes in a plastic bag when they returned home. They were also
told that if they developed any symptoms of illness to contact authorities.
- Building Evacuated Because Of White Powder
- WICHITA, Kan. (AP) A state office building
was evacuated Tuesday when an envelope containing a powdery white substance
described in an accompanying note as anthrax was found in a stairwell.
- Twenty to 25 people may have been exposed
to the powder found in the envelope and on control panels in three elevators
at the Finney State Office Building, said FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza in Kansas
- The FBI said it is not known what was
really in the envelope and that the material was being sent to Washington
to be examined. Results of lab tests probably would not be known before
Wednesday and that no demands were made in the note, Lanza said.
- Anthrax, a disease normally associated
with animals such as sheep or goats, can be used as a weapon when spores
are released into the air and people inhale them. It is almost always fatal
- "The people that have been exposed
to the substance are receiving medical attention, although no one has reported
any symptoms consistent with exposure,'' Lanza said. "We're taking
it very seriously.''
- Mike Maddox, a fire department battalion
chief, said about 15 people were showered down at the site as a precaution.
About 200 people were evacuated and the building remained closed pending
an FBI investigation.
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