Explosions at Boston Marathon

At 2:50pm today, two consecutive explosions happened near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. As of now, no one knows what caused the explosions. The FBI is currently on the scene trying to figure it out. Medical tents and professionals who were originally supposed to take care of runners have been repurposed to care for the injured. According to Boston police, two people were killed and 23 were injured. Several buildings in downtown are on lockdown, including Copley Plaza Hotel, and others have been evacuated. Everyone who was still racing at the time was taken off the course, the surrounding area has been blockaded, and nearby public transit has been shut down.

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 4.19.01 PM

Solid information has been hard to come by, but a live newscast is happening on WBZ News.  The New York Times is liveblogging, too, and there is a helpful tweetstream up at Boston.com. There will be a press conference with city officials in about 20 minutes.

If you haven’t heard from friends or family in Boston, please try not to worry — the phone lines around here are very tied up and it has been hard to even get texts. We’ll update this post when we know more. Best of luck to everyone and we love you.

Update [4:43pm EST]: It has been confirmed that this was an intentional bombing. The Associated Press has reported two more bombs were found and dismantled near the scene.  Boston Police are asking anyone with video of the finish line to turn it over to them in order to help with the investigation.

Update [4:50pm EST]: A fire today at the JFK Library was not related to the bombings.

Update [4:52pm EST]: According to the press conference, all the victims have been removed from the scene and brought to hospitals, and officers have been sent along to the hospitals to get in touch with family members. Police are recommending that people stay home or in their hotel rooms, and that no one congregates in large crowds.  If you are trying to locate someone, call the Mayor’s Hotline at 617-635-4500. If you have information that could help the police with their investigation, call 1-800-484-TIPS.

Update [5:02pm EST]: Google has set up a Person Finder tool to help people check on each other.

Update [5:15pm EST]: The city is shutting down cell service in order to prevent more remote detonations.

Update [6:11pm EST] 



President Barack Obama is speaking about the explosions at the White House, says: “The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight, and Michelle and I send out deepest thoughts and prayers to the victims.”

Update [6:39pm EST] U.S. Rep. from Massachusetts Bill Keating confirmed two unexploded devices were found, one at a hotel on Boylston Street and that this was a “sophisticated, coordinated, planned attack.” Via CNN.

Update [6:44pm EST] The Boston Globe reports 115 injured, 2 dead. Area hospitals report 90 injured.

The American Red Cross has announced there is enough blood on hand to meet the current demands.

Update [6:50pm EST] Cell service remains slow, so keep in mind that Google has set up a webpage to help people contact their loved ones who might have been in the area.

Update [6:55pm EST]
Boston area hospitals announced 110 injured.

Sprint and Verizon denied rumors that that law officials suspended wireless service throughout the city to prevent remote detonation. Cell service was slowed due to overloading traffic following the explosions.

Boston.com has opened Google Docs for people who need a place to stay or have a place to house runners and visitors overnight.

Update [7:05pm EST]
US Rep. Michael Capuano speaking about the explosions said, “I want to remind everyone that this is not just about the people of Boston; the Boston Marathon is an international event with runners from all over the world. I would not be at all surprised if some of those injured aren’t from Boston or Massachusetts.”

See this link for footage of the first explosion going off. I am not going to embed it because I want to warn you that it is really upsetting to watch.

Update [7:15pm EST] If you are in Boston and unsure how to contact your loved ones, you can register at the Red Cross Safe and Well Listings. Those with loved ones in Boston can also search the list.

Update [7:30pm EST] NBC, Boston Globe and CNN are all reporting that one of the two victims of the explosions was an eight-year-old boy.

Boston Police are still taking all tips regarding the explosions, however many callers are encountering busy signals.

Boston area hospitals are now reporting 120 patients treated for injuries related to the explosions.

Update [7:45pm EST] MGH reporting eight critical care patients, 22 patients overall.

The Boston Globe reiterated that the JFK explosions earlier were likely unrelated to the Copley Square explosions.

Rumors of suspicious packages being delivered to Northeastern University were also declared false by University Officials.

Emerson University is on Lockdown.

WBUR.org has information regarding event cancellations in the city.

Update [7:55pm EST]
Street closures in Boston include: Clarendon from Huntington to Newbury, Newbury from Clarendon to Hereford, Huntington from Belividere to Clarendon. Copley Station also remains closed and Gov. Patrick encourages those in the city to stay away from Copley Square and Boston area hospitals to ensure safety and let officials and medical personel do their jobs.

Update [8:30pm EST] Current estimates of those injured due to the explosions is at 124. WBUR reported on air that many injuries were of lower extremity bone and tissue.

From Boston Area hospitals:

MGH: According to their Twitter feed, there is no truth the rumor that MGH is on lockdown. Despite other rumors, there are no suspicious packages in the MGH parking garage and the building has been cleared. MGH patients numbers have been updated to 29 patients though those in critical care thankfully remains at eight.

Brigham & Women’s Hospital: Boston.com is reporting that a suspect is being cared for at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. This has not been commented on by the hospital. The hospital also reports 28 patients, two of whom are in critical condition, eight to ten of whom are in serious condition.

Boston Children’s Hospital: Eight patients have been admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital from the marathon, however one of these patients was a 42-year-old. They will not be receiving any other patients from explosion site according to Boston EMS.

Tuft’s Medical Center: According to their Twitter feed, a suspicious item was found at Tuft’s Medical, but there were no explosions or concerns and the hospital was cleared by Boston PD. Their Emergency Department was temporarily cleared but is now fully operational and open.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: BIDMC has closed the hospital to visitors purely as a precaution. BIDMChas 21 patients form the marathon, seven of whom were critically injured and are currently in surgery. They requested via their Twitter feed that those with appointments tomorrow call their doctors to ensure that they are still scheduled.

Boston Medical Center: BMC is treating 20 patients , two of them children, mostly for lower leg injuries. High security, including a SWAT team, at BMC was reported to be just standard procedure and nothing to be alarmed about.

Update [8:40pm EST] The Boston Athletic Association released a statement at 8:00 pm EST:

The Boston Athletic Association extends its deepest sympathies to all those who were affected in any way by todays 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 Street, 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 [8:55pm EST]
According to Boston Police Department Commissioner Ed Davis, three individuals are confirmed dead. Additionally there is no truth to the rumor that there is a suspect at Brigham and Women’s. I apologize for contributing to the dissemination of that rumor earlier.

Update [9:00pm EST] Wall Street Journal reports five additional undetonated devices have been found in total in addition to the two that were detonated earlier today.

The Associated Press now estimates injury numbers related to the explosions at 134 with 15 defined as “critical.”

The FBI has taken over the investigation.

Update [9:10pm EST] Despite rumors to the contrary, at this time Boston Police Department does not have a suspect in custody.

Update [9:20pm EST] I will continue to refrain from posting images of victims, however for those who wish to view it, the the Associated Press has released the raw footage of the second explosion going on. There are no overt injuries in the video as the second explosion is recorded from over by where the first explosion took place, however it is upsetting to watch the crowd panic and to hear the explosion, and commotion of the scene.

Update [9:30pm EST] The City of Boston Twitter has released the official crime scene parameter image below: 0415_crime-scene-perimeter-620x439

Update [9:35pm EST]
Just a few reminders about numbers to call:

Relatives of victims or missing persons can call the mayor’s hotline: 617-635-4500
Information about the explosions for the Boston Police Department: 800-494-TIPS
Information about the explosions (or visual images) for the FBI: 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), prompt #3

Update [9:45pm EST] The Green Building at MIT, the tallest (and most frequently hacked) building in Cambridge, is shining the American Flag tonight.

Update [10:00pm EST]
MGH doctor speaks about the explosion patients outside MGH LIVE right now

Update [10:25pm EST] Live on NBC, MGH Trama Surgeon Dr. Peter Fagenholz was generally an all around total boss handling the interview. Fagenholz reiterated that there were 29 injured patients at MGH; eight in critical condition. He explained that there was still very little information available to the public, but that many injuries were compound tissue and bone from shrapnel. Reporters pressed him about whether the injuries, particularly whether they seemed similar to battle injuries. Fagenholz explained that while the trauma team does not usually see this volume of such injuries, amputation and shrapnel injuries are not “other worldly.” Additionally, he took the time to remind viewers that while the Boston area hospitals do not need blood donations at this time, they will in the very new future when blood supplies will need to be replenished. He ended by explaining that he had been doing surgeries since 8am (obviously before the explosions) and needed to return to continue.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at Autostraddle.com. She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 261 articles for us.


  1. So scary.. another reminder to live.. I am a worrier, a constant worrier but I feel these are reminders that life is extremely unpredictable. I’m so happy and lucky my friends in boston are ok, especially my best friend Robin there.. hug your loved ones harder, worry less, love more, kiss more, and dance.

  2. As someone who commutes into a school right near the bomb site…I’m freaking out watching the news at home right now. Please, please stay safe everyone. Be smart and stay inside if you can. And expect the phones not to work good, try facebook and texting over calling.

  3. I can’t believe this happened right over the bridge from me. Glad to know you’re okay via this article!

  4. this reminds me scarily of 9/11… no one knows what’s going on and everyone’s afraid to leave their homes. i hope we figure out what’s going on. my heart goes out to everyone affected.

  5. Also, there has now apparently been three explosions, another one a little bit before 4 pm — fuck.

    • Third explosion was actually police disabling other potential bombs via a pressurized water hose. But according to the Associated Press, two more bombs were discovered and dismantled.

  6. There are 2 confirmed fatalities right now, police have set up command centers and locked down Boylston, police-controlled detonations of other devices on Boylston, another explosion (don’t know if it was controlled) at JFK Library, they’re asking people to text instead of calling if they’re trying to contact a loved one in Boston.

      • Police commissioner just reported the JFK Library was another explosion and IS believed to be related. The third controlled detonation was additional and not the JFK incident. SO 4 incidents total so far as of 1:58 PDT – 3 explosions and 1 controlled detonation.

  7. god this is awful. so sorry for you guys out there. I remember the London bombings and frantically trying to get hold of my friends there.
    it’s just awful

  8. My prayers are with the victims. Hopefully the perpetrators will be brought to justice, and soon.

  9. I’m in Boston but was fortunately nowhere near Copley when the explosions happened…I had decided to work instead of watching the marathon (thankfully). It was a little unnerving being on the T though: the train was half-empty, parts of the Green & Red line are shut down and Downtown Crossing is closed, and I saw a family with marathon gear on, looking shaken (but unhurt).

    So far, my partner and all my friends are safe and sound, but this is pretty scary. Gonna go find out where I can donate blood…

  10. Love, hugs, and adult beverages of choice to all the Boston Straddlers. I was able to check in via twitter with my friends in the area and they’re shaken but okay. And seeing Copley Plaza Hotel in the article made my throat close – I stayed there a few years back for a job conference thingie. I hope you all stay safe.

  11. As an avid marathoner I find this terrifying. Boston is not just any race, it’s the one we work to qualify for, train for, and talk about all year. It’s one of the most important athletic events in the world, not to mention just an amazing day. Any attack is horrible, but this hits close to home for me, even all the way in Germany… I’ll still be running next year.

  12. This is terrifying. My sister’s best friend was standing directly in between the two explosions; it’s a miracle she’s completely fine. Thankfully all the people I know running/volunteering/watching today (at least 10) have updated their facebooks saying they’re fine.

    If you want to help: MGH says they have enough blood for today but will need it later this week so it’s best to wait. The best thing you can do now is stay safe and not get in the police’s way.
    (Unless you happen to be near Emerson College; I heard a lot of the runners got rerouted there and need water but that was a few hours ago and I don’t know what the area is like now.)

  13. You guys, my Dad and Mom and youngest sister were there to support my Dad. They are fine. I am still freaking out and I’m just really grateful to have a space to say that here without judgement. Thoughts and prayers.

  14. Thank you AS for being decent and respectful people and not republishing the gruesome pictures of wounded victims and bloodied streets like all the other websites I’ve visited who covered the event. Fuck these vultures, and fuck whoever did it -just fuck all this. It wasn’t even a political rally or anything, it was a marathon – a peaceful and joyful event. Why would anyone do that?? I just can’t wrap my mind around it, it just makes me so sad and confused and angry. I pray that all of the Boston-based Straddlers and their loved ones are ok.

    • It’s always hard to wrap your mind around something that never made sense to begin with.

    • Second the thanks to AS for not posting any of the graphic photos or videos. The internet is wonderful for dissemination of information, but sometimes people don’t think about how gruesome images can affect others before they tweet/post/share. Even major news organizations are guilty of it today.

  15. I feel absolutely sick thinking about the fear and pain those at the marathon must feel, simply horrible.
    Patton Oswalt posted something great on facebook, and I think it’s always good to remember when terrible shit like this happens:

    “…I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

    But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

    But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out…”

    Here’s the whole post:

  16. This is so horrifying and unbelievable. I live in Boston, I’m in Copley at least once a week for my therapist appointments (thank god my therapist was also off today because of the holiday). It doesn’t feel real and I don’t want it to feel real. Ugh.

    Hugs to all my fellow Bostonians or anyone who had a friend or relative in the race today.

  17. My brother was running the marathon today, thank god he finished before the bombs went off. I don’t know if he was there at the time or any details but I know he is okay. My heart goes out to all the people injured and families of those killed.

  18. Thank you for the comprehensive coverage.

    Word from Red Cross regarding blood donations is that they’ve got enough for now – and since blood doesn’t last very long any extra is likely to expire before it’s used. Also people can’t donate blood too often so doing it now will likely be a waste. They will likely need donations in the next few weeks or months, so space out your donations for most benefit.

  19. stay safe everyone. I hate that stay safe right now means stay inside. I hate that my family is scattered and isolated. I hate to think of my sister afraid to leave her house, hate that she is with roommates-near strangers- instead of me. I hate the radio silence that seems to have descended. It seems like everyone is just waiting for something to happen. I want to gather to be with others who understand what I’m going through, to go to a memorial or a candle-lighting or something and I hate that I wouldn’t feel safe enough to gather in a group like that. I hate that I wouldn’t feel safe. And I don’t actually hate any of those things, its just easier than admitting my fear. I feel impotent and conflicted and anxious. And while the initial response after the marathon made me realize I had forgotten how much I love Boston. Today I am conflicted. I want to be there, wrapped in the warm hug of a comfy bar and a Red Sox sweatshirt, making irreverent jokes with strangers who know me. And at the same time, I want to gather up everyone I know and bring them down to my adopted city, where they’ll be safe away from the madness

Comments are closed.