EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 18, 2013

From smiles to shock

City women shaken, friend hit by shrapnel in marathon blast


"We heard the explosion and I turned and said, 'Was that real?''' Spenard said. "Then all of a sudden, I was on the ground and feeling pain. The pain got worse after we got back inside the restaurant. When I lifted my white sweatshirt, which had blood on it, I could see a hole on my right abdomen below my rib cage. I thought I'd been shot and that we were being attacked.

"One girl was standing there screaming and saying, 'You don't want to go out there, you don't want to go out there,'" Spenard said. "Everyone was in a panic. People were crying and screaming."

DiBurro said her cousin Robert "Bobby" DiBurro of Boxford, who owns DiBurro's function halls in Haverhill, was running in the marathon, as were her brothers-in-law Michael Skafas and Brendan Skafas and Brendan's wife Michele Skafas, all of Haverhill.

"We ran inside the restaurant and somehow I got burned on the soles of feet as my flip-flops had fallen off when I was knocked over," DiBurro said. "Tara was saying, 'Denise got hurt, Denise got hurt.'

"Sera took off Tara's scarf and tied it around Denise's waist where she was bleeding from shrapnel," DiBurro said. "It was pandemonium."

Seeing that Spenard was bleeding, DiBurro ran up to a man at the bar and asked if anyone there could help her, but in all of the confusion she was unable to get a clear answer.

"I looked outside and saw people on the ground and smoke that was very thick," DiBurro said. "I said, 'We have to get out of here,' thinking the building would collapse. So we ran out the back door towards the Charles River to try to get help. We were holding hands and running, the five of us. We just didn't want to let go."

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