2013-04-16 / Sports

Mainers' Ouellette recalls explosion aftermath

Staff Writer

BOSTON — Sanford Mainers Director of Media and Broadcasting Jacob Ouellette was just a few blocks away from the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where two bombs went off during the race on Monday.

Ouellette, a junior at Emerson College in Boston who hails from Sanford, was away from danger when the explosions took place, but was nonetheless affected by the tragic event.

Ouellette said he was showering in his dorm when the explosions happened, so he didn't hear the noise. But he could hear his phone repeatedly going off.

“(My phone) is going off, and it's people saying ”˜Are you OK?' I got out of the shower, and I brought up Twitter, and I froze,” said Ouellette of how he found out what was happening.

“I was trying to do way too many things at once” in reaction to the news, Ouellette said, trying to simultaneously make sure friends who ran in the race were OK while assuring his family back in Sanford that he, too, was safe.

Ouellette said it took him a few minutes to get through to his parents because of all the cellphone traffic in the area. Ouellette is a resident assistant in his dorm building, and said even trying to contact others in the building was difficult.

“It was really frustrating. Trying to call people, even other RAs in the building, and I know they're in the building, but still not even able to call them from a different floor, just because of everything that was blocked,” he said. “It's certainly overwhelming.”

Ouellette said his building is less than a 10-minute walk from where the explosions were ”“ on Boylston Street, where the marathon finish line is. Across the street is Boston Common, where Ouellette said a lot began to happen.

“It wasn't long until the Boston Common ”¦ there was police officers, and busses picking up runners that hadn't finished at a certain point and started bring them to the common,” said Ouellette. “I was seeing that activity and just hearing it. Hearing sirens and helicopters. It was all around.”

Ouellette said he spent much of the next couple hours in the dorm's common room, where it was much quieter than the world outside.

“It got really, eerily quiet around here,” said Ouellette. “There was a bunch of us piled into one common room. There was probably, at one point, 20-plus, and barely anyone was saying a word.”

Ouellette said everyone he's been around is still in a state of shock from the day's events ”“ including himself.

“I was talking to one of my friends earlier, and it was very difficult to just form words to really have a conversation,” he said.

Ouellette said he covered the marathon last year for a journalism class ”“ on a similarly nice day weather-wise ”“ and noted that there is barely any room to move on the sidewalks around where the explosions took place. He also said that there is normally a sense of joy in the air in the city on Patriots' Day.

“It's just kind of a day that ”¦ there's no negativity on a day like this,” said Ouellette.

Like many people in the city and all across the country, Ouellette said he still can't completely comprehend the events that marred a historic sporting event and normally cheerful holiday.

“I'm still sitting here trying to process everything,” Ouellette said, nearly five hours after the explosions.

— Staff Writer Wil Kramlich can be contacted at 282-1535, Ext. 323 or follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.

Return to top