EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 21, 2014

'It could have been my family'

Second bomb blew up where family usually watched marathon


”I don’t want to say there was panic, but there definitely was some angst amongst runners,” said Al. “The B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) stopped us. Pretty quickly, I realized something was seriously wrong, that Boylston Street was a crime scene. There were probably about 10,000 runners backed up.

”To be honest, I wanted to go down Boylston Street with five other troopers who were running,” said Al. “This is what we do for a living. We approached the police line and they said we can’t. It was a difficult pill to swallow.”

The usual refreshment stations with water, recovery food and those metallic blankets are awaiting the runners. But on Commonwealth Avenue, there was nothing.

”When you stop running, you get really cold,” said Al. “People were in various stages of hypothermia. Some people were passing out. I remembered seeing a woman from Germany sitting on the ground, shaking. I couldn’t tell if she was scared or cold. Everyone started yelling for help and soon she got some clothes and food.”

Al was able to borrow someone’s cell phone amid the confusion and he called his daughter Alyssa, who was home in Newburyport with her children, to let her know he was fine and that she should let the rest of the family know.

His daughter Lauren was in Mexico and was relaxing by a pool when word got out about a “terrorist” attack in Boston at the marathon. Having no idea that her family made a late decision to not watch her dad on Boylston Street, she went into a panic.

”I was a mess,” said Lauren. “I honestly thought I lost my entire family. Everything was in Spanish, so it was hard trying to communicate. I finally got in touch with Alyssa. She said dad was OK, that she talked to him, that she saw a random phone number on her cell phone but knew it was him. I was shaking.”

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