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Boston Marathon aftermath: Streets closed, people stunned

April 15, 2013|By Alana Semuels

BOSTON -- A eerie strangeness fell over the streets of Boston as the sun set Monday night.

Police personnel in bright yellow vests directed traffic around a 15-block radius that remained closed around the site of Monday's twin bombings. Pedestrians wandered, as if lost. Ambulances stood at the ready up and down blocks of quiet brownstones near Copley Plaza, their lights flashing, sirens off.

Police officers with machine guns stood guard at the Westin Hotel, where emergency personnel were based. Bars near the marathon course were crowded with people shaking their heads, telling their stories, and urging each other to stay safe.

The streets were still crowded with people in the bright blue and yellow jackets of the Boston Marathon, some still wrapped in heat blankets hours after the race.

Nearly everyone, it seemed, had a story to tell.

PHOTOS: Explosions at Boston Marathon

Jennifer Quinlan, 43, had finished her fourth Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 54 minutes when she heard the bombs go off. She estimates the bomb exploded when people running a four-hour race passed the finish line.

"It sounded like an explosion," she said. "Then we turned around and saw all the smoke."

Within three minutes, she said, sirens went off and runners started walking, calmly, to find loved ones and get away from the explosions. Quinlan's family had seen her run by the finish line and had headed to a bar. They panicked when they couldn't find her, but soon got in touch via text message.

The event was disturbing, she said, but she'll run the marathon again. Last year, it was so hot that organizers let some people postpone their run til next year, and encouraged some to skip the race altogether.

"I ran it last year in the heat, and this year in the bombs,"  said Quinlan, 43. "Who knows what's next?"

VIDEO: Boston marathon explosion

alana.semuels@latimes.com

Twitter: @alanasemuels

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