Mandatory evacuation near Valero gas station due to suspicious package

By Julia Vergara | Staff Writer

Mandatory evacuations are being held for anyone within a 500-yard radius of the Valero gas station located at Highway 84 and Speegleville Road due to a suspicious package in that location.

According to Sgt. Swanton of Waco PD, officers responded to a call by two of the gas station employees and discovered an extremely suspicious package located up against a gas pump.

The McLennan County Bomb Squad is currently on the scene, Swanton said. They have checked the package and determined that it is suspicious enough conduct a mandatory evacuation in that area, but was cleared around 10:30 a.m.

Swanton started updating the police department’s Facebook page at 9:17 a.m. and posted a video explaining the situation at 9:50 a.m.

“We are doing this out of an abundance of caution at this point,” Swanton said in the video.

There was some confusion regarding which schools were affected by the evacuation due to a post that said Speegleville Elementary School rather than River Valley Intermediate School. Swanton updated the Facebook page around 10 a.m. clarifying who is affected.

“It is the River Valley Intermediate School that is near the area of concern. It is located on Speegleville Road hence the confusion. Students are being sheltered in place and the school itself is not in the danger zone,” the Facebook post said.

Children that attend River Valley Intermediate School and those at Heartis assisted living center are safe, sheltered and locked in place, Swanton said.

Parents of children in River Valley Intermediate School and loved ones of those in Heartis assisted living center should not come into the area and attempt to pick up their child, Waco PD said in Facebook posts.

“We are asking you please do not enter the area at this point,” Swanton said. “You will only add to the congestion that we’re trying to get out.”

Evacuees are instructed to follow the direction of the officers and leave the area immediately. According to Swanton, the Harris Creek Baptist Church and the Fellowship Bible Church have opened up for evacuees at this time.

Swanton said that he will provide Waco citizens with additional details as they become available.

“Please stay with us on our Facebook or with your local media for additional details,” Swanton said.

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