JP survivors, heroes in marathon bombing

April 26, 2013
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Jamaica Plain had its share of rescue heroes and survivor stories in the wake of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing.

Jarrett Barrios of JP, the CEO of New England’s American Red Cross, and Carlos Arredondo, a peace activist with strong JP ties, had prominent roles in helping the victims.

The bombing killed three people and injured hundreds more. There are no reports of JP residents or visiting runners staying here being hurt, but many of them have stories of near-misses.

Harry Smith, the president of the JP Regan Youth League, ran the Marathon to raise funds for that youth baseball program. In an email, Smith said his wife and daughter were supposed to be awaiting him at the finish line, where a bomb went off, but decided to stop for ice cream first and thus avoided the attack. Smith himself was about a half-mile from the finish line.

“It was a scary and tragic end to one of Boston’s most joyful events,” Smith wrote. “My mind is filled with ‘what if’ scenarios and also with sadness at the people who were killed or injured while doing nothing more than watching the end of a road race.”

JP resident John Mannix said in an email to the Gazette that he was standing about 1,000 feet from the site of the first explosion while watching the race.

“The fireball and noise were the worst I’ve ever experienced,” Mannix wrote. “It was so sad to see the victims, many in shock and missing limbs. God bless all affected and Godspeed to all. Pray for them.”

The bombing affected the Gazette as well in various ways. The young son of Gazette publisher Stephen Quigley was among those who had a near-miss and felt the bombs go off. Reporter Peter Shanley heard part of the suspects’ massive firefight with police from his home.

During an extraordinary manhunt that put the entire city in “lockdown” and turned Watertown into JP’s local news, the Gazette operated virtually nonstop, publishing 32 stories online in a little over four days, assessing the local impact and communicating the horrible possibility of the violence heading our way. Along the way, the Gazette spoke to fellow journalists everywhere from Kentucky to Germany who were interested in JP’s marathon stories.