A woman who unwittingly stumbled into the middle of an armed police operation says she felt sick after hearing what she believed were gunshots minutes later.
Papamoa resident Kim Thorburn had been walking to the beach, using a beach accessway from Parkdale Park on to Dickson St at Allan Place.
"I was about to cross the road in Dickson St, but there was the Armed Offender Squad with their armour or whatever you call it going 'stop, stop!'
Police shut down the streets surrounding Allan Pl after a "firearms incident" unfolded at a house during a search warrant just after 11am.
"They escorted me out of there. There were about 10 police cars and an ambulance. There were armed police, a lot of them in the bushes and everything.
"Then I got to where the hairdressers are; I heard what sounded like two shots. I feel sick about that. Then the ambulance moved closer to Allan Pl.
"I still have goose pimples."
Dickson Rd resident Brooke Wilson lives just metres from the house with three-year-old son Asher Wilson.
"We came out and saw a couple of cop cars here, and they were hanging out under the trees. I asked if we were safe and they said just to stay inside."
Wilson said she also heard what sounded like gunshots or stun grenades.
"It made me jump. It was like boom!
"I didn't feel worried though. They (the police) were all calm. They weren't panicked, and they said I could leave if I wanted to but I couldn't come back."
It was not known whether anyone was injured in the operation but an Allan Pl resident, who would not be named, said she saw a man in an ambulance outside the home at the centre of the callout.
The resident said she had returned home from work earlier in the afternoon and could not get home due to the police cordon. She was eventually let through about 1.50pm.
Earlier another unnamed resident of Allan Pl waiting at the cordon said was worried she and her husband, who has just had surgery, couldn't get home.
"He's had a lesion removed, and he's a bleeder, so the doctor said to get home where it's quiet and to take it easy for the next two weeks."
She took her husband to the library instead.
Another woman expressed heated concern to police guarding the Domain Rd end of Dickson St that she was unable to get her groceries into her fridge in time.
She and worried mums with children in daycare were among the streams of traffic trying to get through.
The Bay of Plenty Times asked police whether shots were fired, what was the nature of the incident and why were the cordons in place for so long.
In a written statement, a police spokeswoman said an arrest warrant had been issued.
"AOS attended due to emerging safety concerns for attending police staff. There have been no arrests at this stage. There was not thought to be any risk to the wide public; any potential risk was contained to the property."
Additional reporting Samantha Motion