Boston Marathon Finish Line Evacuated After Two Explosions on Boylston Street

Update, 8:54 p.m.: At a news conference, Gov. Deval Patrick announced that control of the ongoing investigation has been handed over to the FBI. The investigation will include random backpack and parcel checks on public transportation, and Patrick urged all citizens to maintain a state of “heightened vigilance.”

FBI special agent Richard DesLauriers characterized the current police efforts as “a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation.”

Boston Police commissioner Ed Davis also confirmed that there is not a suspect in custody at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, despite reports to the contrary.

Update, 8:35 p.m.: The Boston Athletic Association, the marathon’s organizing committee, released the following statement:

“The Boston Athletic Association extends its deepest sympathies to all those who were affected in any way by today’s events.

“Today is a sad day for the city of Boston, for the running community, and for all those who were here to enjoy the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. What was intended to be a day of joy … and celebration quickly became a day in which running a marathon was of little importance.

“We can confirm that all of the remaining runners who were out on the course when the tragic events unfolded have been returned to a community meeting area.

“At this time, runners bags in Boston which remain unclaimed may be picked up by runners presenting their bib number or proof of race participation at the Castle at 101 Arlington St. in Boston.

“At this time, we are cooperating with the city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and all federal law enforcement officials.

“We would like to thank the countless people from around the world who have reached out to support us today.”

Update, 7:15 p.m.: The House of Representatives observed a moment of silence in honor of the victims.

That practice will be repeated tonight prior to several sporting events around North America.

Update, 6:55 p.m.: A Google document has been created to offer places to stay for those unable to return to their homes or hotels after this afternoon’s explosions. Anyone can post an opening on the list, which can be found here.

Update, 6:25 p.m.: UMass Boston announced that its campus will close at 6 p.m. as a precautionary measure, though it reports there is “no credible threat to campus.”

Update, 6:20 p.m.: Bruins president Cam Neely released the following statement regarding the postponement of tonight’s game:

“After consultation with city, state and NHL officials, we collectively made the decision to postpone tonight’s game. Public safety personnel from the city and state are still gathering information regarding today’s events, and it is vital they have all resources available for their investigation. The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the Bruins organization are with the city of Boston and all those affected by today’s tragedy.”

Update, 6:15 p.m.: President Obama: “We still do not know who did this or why. We still don’t have all the facts. We will get to the bottom of this. We will find who did this, and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible people or groups will feel the full weight of justice.”

Update, 6:10 p.m.: President Barack Obama is currently addressing the incidents in a news conference.

Update, 6:05 p.m.: The Boston Police Department posted the following preliminary information on its virtual community website:

• At about 2:50 p.m., on Monday, April 15, 2013, Boston Police responded to two large explosions along the Boston Marathon route in the area of 673 Boylston St.

• The Boston Police Department is confirming two fatalities and more than 20 injuries.

• At about 4:12 p.m., the Boston Police Department responded to a third explosion or fire in the area of the JFK Library in Dorchester. Officials are working to determine the nature of the incident. There are no injuries to report in connection to that incident.

• At present, a multiagency response including state and federal law enforcement agencies has been activated and is investigating the cause of the explosions. At this point, it is uncertain if the explosions are connected.

The police recommend members of the community do the following:

• Residents and visitors to the city are encouraged to stay calm.

• Residents and visitors are asked to avoid the Copley Square area so as to allow law enforcement agencies to continue their investigation.

• Family members looking for information relative to individuals possibly injured during the incident are encouraged to call 617-635-4500.

• Community members wanting to assist this investigation anonymously are encouraged to call the Boston Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS (8477) or text the word TIP to CRIME (27463). Individuals who may have been taking pictures or video are asked to share that information.

• Continue to monitor BPDNews.com or @boston_police on Twitter for ongoing public safety updates.

Update, 6:02 p.m.: Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis confirms that the police do not have a suspect in custody at this time.

Update, 5:56 p.m.: The Boston Police Department has classified the area around the explosions as a “crime scene” and announced that it will be closed off for the “foreseeable future.”

Update, 5:40 p.m.: The Boston Police Department confirms a third explosion at the JFK Library but did not confirm whether it was related to the two earlier blasts. JFK Library also did not confirm the cause of the incident, but it reported via Twitter that all staff and visitors were safe and accounted for.

Update, 5:18 p.m.: Google has launched a service for finding those affected by the explosions. It can be found here.

Update, 5:00 p.m.: The Bruins’ game against Ottawa, originally scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight, has been postponed.

Update, 4:57 p.m.: Boston Police are asking those attempting to reunite with family members to call 617-635-4500, and those with information regarding the incidents to call 1-800-494-TIPS.

Update, 4:26 p.m.: The Associated Press and USA Today report that two additional explosive devices have been located near the scene and are being dismantled.

Update, 4:18 p.m.: The Boston Marathon posted this on its Facebook page.

Update, 4:08 p.m.: News from the Boston Police Department:

Update, 4:05 p.m.: We should have more news shortly.

Update, 4:01 p.m.: Boston Police will stage a controlled explosion in the area, according to The Boston Globe and CBS News.

Update, 3:48 p.m.: Police are looking at “secondary devices” in the area, according to reports.

Police are asking people to leave the area.

Update, 3:39 p.m.: The Lenox Hotel, on Exeter Street in the Back Bay one block from Copley Square, is being evacuated, according to reports.

Update, 3:35 p.m.: Boston Police are trying to clear the entire Copley Square area, WBZ reports. It’s very difficult to know which runners have crossed the line, who was coming and who remains on the course.

Police are reportedly looking into a suspicious package at the Mandarin Hotel.

Update, 3:25 p.m.: Every marathon has a medical tent at the finish line, and that’s where most of the injured are being treated right now, according to WBZ.

From overhead shots, it looks like the street has been cleared, and police are coming into the area. Onlookers have been warned to stay away from trash cans.

First report: Two explosions have occurred near the finish line of the Boston Marathon at the corners of Dartmouth and Boylston streets, WBZ news is reporting.

The “consecutive” explosions were near the Marathon Sports store, which is across from the Boston Public Library, right next to the finish line on Boylston Street.

“It was an absolute ball of fire,” a WBZ correspondent reports an observer as saying, noting that it came from within Marathon Sports.

Overhead shots showed flames and heavy smoke. Spectators have been evacuated from the area, and heavy debris can be seen on the street. Windows reportedly blew out during the two explosions, which occurred just before 3 p.m.

First responders could be seen attending to injured people along Boylston Street. The explosions spewed debris across the street as runners crossed the finish line. Head injuries have been reported.

The explosions reportedly came from two different locations but were in succession.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel has been locked down, WBZ reports.

We’ll have more information as it comes.

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 190,210 other followers