Chemicals To Be Released Near Newkirk

Tiffany Liou, News 9

The Department of Homeland Security is preparing in the event of a biological attack. According to a 58-page document, chemicals will be released at Chilocco Indian School in Newkirk.

Many residents of Newkirk are frustrated about the way they found out. Neighbors say the local paper, The Newkirk Herald, received information from Homeland Security for the legal section of the paper.

In January/Feburary and again in June/July of 2018, particles will be released onto buildings of the Chilocco campus. It is to determine how well biological agents will penetrate into single and multi-family homes. The department claims these chemicals are nontoxic and nonhazardous; however, personnel will wear suits, masks, gloves and respirators when in the zone.

Neighbors, like Brittny Smith, are skeptical. Smith was born and raised in Newkirk.

She said, “I would like them to do the testing somewhere else and I think that I speak for a lot of the citizens when I say that.”

She believes the Department of Homeland Security is not being transparent. She wishes all the residents were notified rather than finding out from the local paper.

Resident Brian Hobbs is also questioning how safe these chemicals really are.

“Are we 100 percent sure this is safe? Sometimes they have unintended consequences, like Agent Orange, you know.”

Chilocco Indian School is just north of Newkirk, only about five miles from downtown. They fear that the chemicals released will have long-term consequences for wildlife, farm-life and the people in their town. Residents are demanding transparency and answers from the Department of Homeland Security.