Officials in Girard still do not have an answer as to what caused a two-block area to be cordoned off late Thursday night.

Officials in Girard still do not have an answer as to what caused a two-block area to be cordoned off late Thursday night.
On Friday, Girard Fire Chief Dustin Johnson said that testing early Friday morning had not revealed what was the cause of an ‘unknown odor’ in the area near downtown Girard.
“They ran some tests but the tests have not come back confirming anything,” Johnson said. “The test was not pure enough to get an absolute positive test.”
Members of the Regional Haz-Mat team out of Coffeyville were dispatched along with the Girard Fire Department, Girard Police Department, City of Girard crews, Crawford County Emergency Medical Services and Crawford County Sheriff’s department.
The area that was sectioned off encircled the Craw-Kan auxiliary building on South Summit St. a block north of downtown Girard.
“We have everything ventilated and the problem is not nearly as severe as it was last night [Thursday],” Johnson said.
The Regional Haz-Mat team was on-site in Girard through Friday morning testing the area around the Craw-Kan building.
Preliminary readings in the area showed that whatever the material was that was causing the odor was within safe ranges and did not pose an immediate threat to residents or businesses in the area.
On Thursday night, crews alerted residents within the radius of the situation and Johnson said that approximately 30 elected to leave their homes but, on Friday, it was safe enough for them to return.
“There is no immediate danger to any of the residents at this point,” Johnson said. “Everyone has returned home and business was normal on the square.”
He said that some businesses on the square in Girard had reported an odor Friday but that initial test results showed no danger.
Johnson said that the odor, which could be an “unknown flammable source,” was potentially located to the southeast of the Craw-Kan building, which is located a block from the County Courthouse in Girard.
Now, Johnson said, the investigation has been turned over to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment [KDHE] — who was in Girard on Friday — for further testing.
“The plan is now to start drilling next week and doing core samples,” Johnson said. “We will just start down the alleys and see what we find.”
Officials with KDHE started some preliminary testing on Friday and will continue on Monday by drilling for samples.

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140