Indiana Daily Student

IU students recount Boston blasts

Emergency personnel assist the victims at the scene of a bomb blast during the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, April 15, 2013. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald/MCT)
Emergency personnel assist the victims at the scene of a bomb blast during the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, April 15, 2013. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald/MCT)

In the race’s fifth hour, multiple explosions ripped through Boylston Street near the finish line at Monday’s Boston Marathon.

Two explosives detonated simultaneously before 3:15 p.m. Monday along Boylston Street, killing at least three individuals and injuring dozens more, according to Boston police officials.

Later in the afternoon, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis addressed the public in a press conference at about 4:50 p.m. A third explosion reportedly detonated at John F. Kennedy Library a little more than an hour after the initial blasts, Davis said.

IU senior Patrick Mazzocco was 20 floors above the finish line, safely in his Sheraton Boston Hotel room with his parents and sister, when he felt “the deepness” of the first blast. And then the second.

It was like a cannon, he said, or even thunder.

“I was pretty sure it was race-related,” Mazzocco said. “I thought they were signifying the race was over.”

Peering out the window, it was clear to Patrick and his family that something wasn’t right. The family stood and watched as chaos ensued throughout Boylston Street and Massachusetts Avenue. White smoke filled the air, and people ran in every direction.

About 45 minutes prior to the blasts, Patrick’s sister, Lisa, 25, had completed the marathon, finishing just before the 3-hour, 30-minute mark.

Mazzocco, 22, had been observing the race near the location of the blasts less than an hour before they were detonated.

Upon Lisa’s finish, the family went about their afternoon, posing for family photos and deliberating where they would eat. After the family saw the commotion, their attention focused on what to do next.

According to the official race registry, there were 283 Indiana residents scheduled to run the race, nine of whom hailed from Bloomington.

Not included on the list is IU School of Medicine student Andrew Walker. Walker finished the race about two hours before the first boom shook the area. He communicated via text message that he was safe.

Ryan Piurek, director of news and media for IU Communications, confirmed three of the nine individuals listed from Bloomington have connections to IU. Among the confirmed individuals are Ethan Michelson, associate professor of sociology and law; Chris Muir, a graduate student studying evolutionary biology, and Rachel Noirot, a registered dietitian with Residential Programs and Services.

Mazzocco and his family sat in their hotel room as media reports rolled in. Rumors as to whether additional explosive devices had been located seemed to direct a lot of the coverage, he said.

Bomb dogs and service helicopters, he said, remained active throughout the evening. Many surrounding hotels on Boylston Street were evacuated, though the Sheraton was not one of them.

“I cannot emphasize enough how quickly responders arrived to the scene to help those in need,” Mazzocco said.

The streets where people, police and sirens swarmed earlier became desolate.

From his hotel room, Mazzacco said he could see that officials had ceased traffic flow on the Harvard Bridge at the time.

“The streets are really dead,” he said as he returned to the view. “It’s become a bit of a ghost town.”

— Matthew Glowicki, Jordan Littman and Katie Mettler contributed to this story.

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