Explosions injure dozens at Boston Marathon; many JPers in the race

At least two explosions, apparently from bombs, near the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street in the Back Bay injured dozens of people this afternoon, according to TV news and first-responder reports. Two people are confirmed dead, according to the Boston Police Department’s Twitter feed.

Many Jamaica Plain residents and activists were running the world-famous annual race. Amid the chaos and a police lockdown on the area, there has been no identification of the victims. There was no immediate word that anyone from JP had been injured, but it remains impossible to be certain.

First Church in Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist at Centre and South streets in Monument Square will open its sanctuary to anyone from 6 to 7 p.m. this evening. Visitors are welcome to meditate, pray, light a candle or simply be with others. See firstchurchjp.org.

The Franklin Park Coalition had a team running the marathon. Executive Director Christine Poff told the Gazette shortly after the explosions that she is working the phones frantically to find out everyone’s condition, and that the early word is good, but the situation is uncertain.

“We think all the Franklin Park Coalition runners are safe. We can’t be sure,” she said.

Local City Councilor Matt O’Malley, a JP resident, was also checking on scores of friends who were running, he said.

“I’m just trying to reach out,” O’Malley said. “I’ve heard from some, haven’t heard from others.”

City Councilor Mike Ross, who represents part of JP and is a mayoral candidate, was taking photos and tweeting them near the finish line shortly before the explosions. Further tweets show Ross is safe and warning people away from the area. He was not immediately available for comment.

“God help the victims of this tragedy,” Ross tweeted.

City Councilor and JP resident Felix Arroyo, another mayoral candidate, recently tweeted, “Thoughts & prayers to all the victims of this horrific tragedy. God bless the first responders & good samaritans.”

The MBTA has halted Green Line stops in the Back Bay area, and the Orange and Red Line trains will skip the Downtown Crossing stop.

According to BPD, a third explosion, possibly related, happened at the John F. Kennedy presidential library in Dorchester today.

In the 1990s, Copley Square was featured in a well-known movie about a mad bomber. “Blown Away,” starring Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, came out in 1994 and featured a police van blowing up in the middle of Copley Square.

The Gazette will continue to update this story with any new information.

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