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No U. students reported injured in explosions

At least 20 students and alums attended the Boston Marathon Monday

By and
University News Editor and Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Three individuals died and nearly 150 were injured after two explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon.

No Brown students were reported injured after two bombs exploded by the Boston Marathon’s finish line around 2:50 p.m. yesterday, though at least 20 students and alums attended the event.

Three people were killed, and almost 150 people were injured in the incident, multiple news outlets reported Monday.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 told the Boston Globe no Rhode Island citizens had been reported injured as of Monday night.

The White House has not yet determined whether the attack was foreign or domestic, Reuters reported, but the FBI and Secretary of Homeland Security are taking appropriate measures, President Obama said in a speech in response to the events.

Five minutes after the explosions, the site was filled with debris, ambulances and people fleeing the scene, said Julien Ouellet ’12, who works in the Prudential Tower, located approximately 200 yards from the scene. Ouellet, a former Herald senior editor, witnessed the aftermath at the marathon’s finish line from a window in the tower.

Half an hour after the attack, the site was like a “ghost town,” Ouellet said, adding that the “whole scene was entirely deserted save for policemen.”

National Guard and SWAT teams entered about an hour later and began turning over trash cans — likely looking for other possible explosives — and sifting through debris, he said.

When Ouellet first heard the bombs, it sounded “as if someone dropped books on the floor above,” he said, adding that he didn’t know anything had happened until he heard ambulance sirens outside. The workers in his office were instructed to stay inside from around 3:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. for safety, but many employees rushed outside to help out, he said.

Police used dogs to conduct searches of trains departing immediately after the attack, said Victoria O’Neil ’16, who was on a train from Boston to Providence around 3:30 p.m. She ran 10 miles of the race and was traveling to South Station at the time of the explosions.

The train station was crowded, and “everyone was on their phones, on Facebook, on Twitter, trying to call people and get updates,” O’Neil said. It seemed as if everyone found out about the events at the same time, she said.

“Just the idea of a targeted terrorist attack hits home in a different way when it’s in the city you grew up in,” said Josh Linden ’14, who grew up in the Boston suburb, Acton, Mass.

Linden said he remembers getting a day off school for Patriot’s Day, the Massachusetts state holiday celebrated Monday, when he was younger and watching reenactments of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

“It’s just shocking that in that kind of celebration, you get a tragedy like this,” he said.

Sammie Gross ’15, who is also from the Boston area, said that she first heard of the explosions when she was on Facebook and saw status updates stating a bomb had exploded at Copely, the square nearest to the marathon finish line. This was before any news outlets had reported on the events, she said.

Gross said nothing like this event has happened in Boston in her lifetime, adding that the marathon is an especially “joyous and pure” event. Yesterday’s events will “probably hurt the psyche of the city,” she said.

Gross said she knew most of her family and friends would be watching the marathon from towns outside of the city, and she said she texted and called family members to ask if they had heard what happened.

Social media allowed Gross to hear about her friends in the city, many of whom posted updates to say they were safe, she said.

Jessica Mitter ’13 had recently dropped her boyfriend off the train station when she heard about the explosions. “I had a big rush of fear and panic wave over me,” she said. “He was going to be getting in right at that time.”

“It reminded me a lot of exactly how I felt whenever I heard about (Sept. 11),” she said, “a lot of the same fear coming back up.”

Though Boston is a large city, it “feels like a small community that is supportive of each other,” Mitter said. “People are scared — but holding together really strongly.”

The University is offering support through Psychological Services and the Department of Public Safety, wrote Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, executive vice president for planning and policy, in a community-wide email Monday night.

“While members of the community may see a heightened security presence in some areas, there are no local security threats or concerns in Providence nor any changes to University operations,” he wrote.

Patriot’s Day “draws the world to Boston’s streets in a spirit of friendly competition,” Obama said in his address. “Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other and move forward as one proud city.”

 

– Additional reporting by Jennifer Kaplan