White powder found at Johnson County Courthouse not hazardous, investigators say

Olathe firefighters and Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies stage in the the north parking lot of the Johnson County Courthouse on Thursday. Two members of Olathe Fire’s hazmat team are suited up in yellow. Photo credit Mike Frizzell.

Updated: Thursday, March 24, 9 p.m.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office says a white powdery substance found in the Johnson County Courthouse’s mailroom Thursday morning has been tested and found to be not hazardous.

A hazmat team began investigating the powder earlier Thursday after being called to the courthouse in downtown Olathe.

“An unknown white powdery substance was discovered in the courthouse mailroom,” Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Shelby Colburn said in an emailed response to questions.

The powder was found about 11:15 a.m.

Olathe firefighters responded to the courthouse, 150 East Santa Fe Street, about 11:45 a.m.

Firefighters from the Olathe Fire Department’s hazardous materials team were at the scene Thursday afternoon, working to determine if the substance is harmful or not.

Johnson County Med-Act also had a hazmat team at the location and several ambulances were on standby.

Employees inside the Johnson County Courthouse look out windows at emergency crews staging outside the building. Photo credit Mike Frizzell.

Employees in the room when the powder was found were being quarantined until the hazmat team could determine what the substance is, according to investigators.

It’s not clear where exactly that quarantine is taking place.

The Sheriff’s Office said most employees remained inside the courthouse Thursday afternoon, and there was no danger to the public.

Workers could be seen inside the courthouse looking out windows at emergency crews staging outside.

Sheriff’s Deputies had blocked off the parking lot on the north side of the courthouse, along with N. Cherry Street between E. Spruce and E. Poplar Street.

Check back with this report for updates.

Mike Frizzell is a freelance crime and fire reporter who runs Operation 100 News.