Among those at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday when the bombs exploded was Pittsburgher John Adamczak. Adamczak has volunteered at the finish line for 20 years and leads a team of other Pittsburghers to the event each year.
“Me and several members of my team were running towards the blast because we knew they needed help,” said Adamczak, whose team is responsible for supporting the runners and those attending to them at the end of the race. “We got there and started pulling scaffolding and other things off the injured parties that were laying on the ground and assisting the police with clearing the area of all nonessential personnel.”
Three people were killed in the blasts, including an 8-year-old boy, by two explosions just seconds apart near the finish line. Police said Tuesday morning that 176 victims came to hospitals around Boston, and 17 of those are in critical condition.
Marathon runners are allowed to place items in a bag at the start of the race and those bags are trucked to the finish line where the runners retrieve them. Adamczak and his crew knew there were runners who were cold and needed those bags.
“As soon as they let a few of us in (to the area the bags were held), we went in and got all of the bags out not knowing what was in each bag, and there were questions on a lot of those bags," he said. "There were a lot of people who went above and beyond.”
Police initially were concerned that there were additional bombs in those bags.
Adamczak was trying to negotiate a busy Boston airport Tuesday to get back to Pittsburgh where he works as a computer information security specialist. He said he is not sure if he will return to the marathon next year.
“The chances are we will be,” he said.