Feb 13, 2020 1:00 AM

Fire crews in McPherson were prepared for hazmat situation

Posted Feb 13, 2020 1:00 AM
Fire crews on the scene Tuesday -Photo McPherson Police
Fire crews on the scene Tuesday -Photo McPherson Police

MCPHERSON — Fire crews in McPherson were more than prepared when they responded to a hazardous materials situation at Chemstar 503 West Hayes Street in the middle of McPherson late Tuesday afternoon.

While McPherson police officers were placed on standby, the highly trained fire crews carefully worked with a barrel of toxic, very flammable liquid that had arrived with a small hole, according to Fire Chief T.J. Wyssmann.  This liquid, used in the manufacture of oil drilling mud, can be fatal if absorbed through the skin.

There were no vapors and no  lives in danger, so fire crews did not have to hurry.  After approximately an hour, the fire crews had turned the barrel upside down and were able to contain the liquid. There were no injuries.

McPherson Fire Department crews go through extensive Hazmat training in an effort to support several industries in town that may need this expertise, according to Wyssmann.

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Feb 13, 2020 1:00 AM
Ex-Kan. prison lab instructor wants sex crime conviction thrown out
Tomas Co photo Texas County

TOPEKA, KAN. (AP) — A former prison dental instructor who was found guilty earlier this month of one count of unlawful sexual relations with an inmate is asking a judge to throw out the conviction.

Tomas Co was convicted on one charge and found not guilty of five other charges alleging he abused female inmates working in the dental lab at the Topeka Correctional Facility.

The conviction was for a woman who said Co touched the inside of her knee and thigh.

In a motion filed Friday, Co's attorney, Chris Joseph, argued that type of touching doesn’t constitute “lewd” touching under state law. The motion also asks Shawnee County District Court Judge Cheryl Rios to acquit Co based on insufficient evidence, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Joseph said he also plans to seek probation for Co, rather than the 31 to 136 months of prison time he is facing.

District Attorney Mike Kagay said his office would file arguments in response to the defense motion.

Inmates in the dental lab complained for five years about alleged sexual harassment and unwanted touching by Co, who was dismissed in December 2018.