EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 17, 2013

Fear, panic were just around the corner

Spectators and runners tell their stories

(Continued)

The mood quickly shifted from disappointment to concern.

“We all had contingencies waiting at the finish line,” Carracedo said. “I remember looking around and seeing runners sobbing and crying. It was reminiscent of Sept.11, not because they knew their families were harmed, but that they just didn’t know. It was a complete feeling of emptiness.”

He tried to reach his wife and two children, who were en route to the finish line.

Using social media, he diverted them and they reunited at the Westin Hotel at Copley Place, two hours after the explosion.

This was to be Carracedo’s final marathon, but he’s already reconsidering.

“Considering I never made the finish line,” he said, “it’s hard to go out that way.”

Confusion and shock

The scene near the finish line was like something from the movies, Lisa Leonard said.

“At first, we thought it was a cannon,” she said. “We all looked at each other and it was confusing. Then we saw the smoke and people just started running right toward us.”

Leonard was waiting for her daughter, Sheila Fitzgerald of Plaistow, to pass her at the corner of Boylston Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Before she came, a “surreal” scene evolved, Leonard said.

“There were police, SUVs, trucks and motorcycles coming from every direction,” she said.

With no service, and her cell phone dying, she quickly called her husband to say she was OK. She also reached Fitzgerald, who was running with her phone.

Leonard was unable to retrieve her car, parked at the Prudential Center. She got it yesterday and was shocked at the scene.

“It was the freakiest thing,” she said. “At Legal Sea Foods, the doors were locked and you could see food left all over the table from the day before. It was such an eerie feeling.”

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