Tammy Hughes, a runner from Darien, had just crossed the finish line and was glancing back over her shoulder to check on her husband Danny's progress when she was knocked back by the blast of the first explosion Monday at the Boston Marathon.
"It was deafening," Hughes, 43, said. "I jumped out of my skin like everyone around me. I thought, 'Was that a bomb?' I didn't know what to think. Five seconds later, the second went off. Then I knew." Thick brown smoke choked Boylston Street as race officials prodded bone-weary runners away from finish line area as fast as they could move, Hughes said.
One of those officials was race volunteer Evan Gilchrist of West Hartford. A longtime marathon volunteer, he said the explosive blast of the first bomb sounded like a cannon shot, and when he turned in the direction of the sound, he saw flames shooting across Boylston Street. The area was crowded with tired runners and shocked spectators who had been watching the finish from a VIP grandstand.