KILGORE - Martin Gas was evacuated, and law enforcement were reportedly in pursuit of a suspect nearby following reports of gunfire Thursday afternoon.
Closed for more than an hour, Stone Road was to be reopened to thru traffic abou 3:35 p.m. and Kilgore Police Department officials were preparing a briefing on the incident. "Just to clarify, this is not an 'active shooter' situation as some have shared or speculated,"
UPDATE: KPD reported in a social media post at 3:19 p.m. "Officers are continuing to search area to assure everything is safe before everyone is allowed to return."
Personnel were "working an active incident related to shots fired in the immediate area, and what was perceived to be a possible threat to employees and citizens."
A longtime Martin Gas employee, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed the facility was evacuated per instructions from the police.
"Everybody is safe," the individual said. "Nobody was injured or anything but they did decide it was best to evacuate the building."
An aerial drone helped monitor the site, and multiple units from Kilgore PD and the Gregg
County Sheriff's Department secured the area. Some officers donned additional protective gear.
More emergency personnel -- including a Kilgore Fire Department command vehicle, the Kilgore Fire Marshal and an unmarked police cruiser -- arrived on scene about 3:28 p.m.
Another witness on scene who works nearby reported it's not the first time in recent days that gunfire has been reported in the vicinity.
A K-9 unit was also dispatched, and Kilgore Rescue Unit personnel arrived to assist with the traffic block.
Police officers on scene could not initially provide further details about the incident. The bypass remained open throughout.