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In the wake of three explosions and what is said to be at least two dismantled explosive devices near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, Boston Police and U.S. Homeland Security officials were trying to restore some sense of calm in downtown Boston.
The 26.2 mile race was suspended after two explosions rocked the packed finish line shortly before 3 p.m. One of the devices reportedly exploded on Boylston Street near Exeter Street. At press time, there were two people reported dead and 22 casualties. This year 22,485 runners had signed up to cover the course.
A third explosion was later reported at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library in Dorchester. As one of the sponsors for the Boston Marathon, Adidas reportedly had 100 staffers at the race. Adidas America president Patrik Nilsson was reportedly among the employees in Boston, but he was said to be at Logan International Airport at the time of the explosion.
An Adidas spokeswoman said Monday, “We are monitoring the situation carefully and are currently in the process of ensuring all of our employees are safe. We are shocked by the terrible news coming out of Boston. Our hearts and prayers go out to runners, spectators and their families at the Boston Marathon.”
New Balance, a Boston-based athletic company, had rented Solas, a bar near the finish line, for a private party. As was the case with many Boston retailers, companies and residents, New Balance executives could not be reached at press time for comment. The heavy volume of cellphone calls in downtown Boston had disrupted and inhibited many from reaching people on the scene. Reebok and Nike, two other athletic giants that have a major presence at the race, had not returned requests for comment at press time.
After the explosions near the finish line, Copley Place and the Prudential Center remained opened though many of the stores in each shopping center opted to close. Around 4 p.m. the Boston Police Department ordered a mandatory evacation of Copley Place, according to a spokesman for Simon Mall, which owns the shopping center. Located in the heart of downtown, Copley Place has 75 stores including Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton and Barneys New York.
Massachusetts State Gov. Deval Patrick said, “I have been in touch with the President, Mayor [Thomas] Menino and our public safety leaders. Our focus is on making sure that the area around Copley Square is safe and secured. I am asking everyone to stay away from Copley Square and let the first responders do their jobs.”
Elsewhere, New York City Police said they were stepping up security at hotels and other prominent locations following the explosions at the Boston Marathon. Chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said critical response teams are being deployed around the city until more about the explosion is learned. In Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania Avenue was closed to traffic but the White House remained open to the public.