BOSTON — Texas City Secretary Nick Finan was walking back toward the finish line when he heard the first explosion.
He was on his way to meet his wife after successfully completing his first Boston Marathon just 15 minutes earlier.
“When the explosion took place, I had just gotten my gear,” Finan said. “It sounded like a huge boom that echoed.”
Finan said he looked up, thinking it was thunder, but there was not a cloud in the sky. A second explosion rang out just seconds later, and soon after he was directed onto a subway and began heading out of the city.
Speaking on his wife’s cellphone from the airport about an hour after the explosion, Finan said that he, his wife, and two relatives who were in Boston with him were safe.
“Physically, we’re OK,” West said. “Mentally, we’re upset right now.”
It was not until he reached his hotel room later that Finan began to realize what was going on, and how close he came to being in danger, he said.
“My wife was about a block down from the finish,” he said, but she had left Boylston Street after he had crossed the finish line.
Finan said the area around the finish line was packed with people cheering the racers, thousands of whom were still on the course when the attacks happened.
“I just wouldn’t have imagined something like this happening,” he said.
Officials say two bombs killed 3 people and injured at least 140 others. The first explosion happened at about 3:15 p.m. on Boylston Street in Boston, just blocks away from the race’s finish line. Another blast occurred moments later, two blocks away.
Finan, who was running in his first Boston Marathon, said that Boston was on heightened alert.
“People are being warned to stay in their houses and hotels,” Finan said. “People are also being told not to go out in groups or be in large groups.”
Finan said airport security was also on heightened alert and that he and his wife were told to be at the airport very early today for a noon flight.
Finan was one of at least four local runners who were in the marathon on Monday. The Daily News confirmed Monday, to various extents, that they were safe.
League City’s Al West finished his first Boston Marathon in just more than three hour. He crossed the finish line at about 1:15 p.m., hours before the attack. He said he was on the Boston subway on the way to Logan International Airport around the time of the explosion.
The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all flights in and out of Boston, and cellphone service was slowed by the increased volume of calls to the Boston area.
In a text message later in the evening, West said that lines at the airport security checks were extremely long and that dogs were sniffing travelers.
John Moyer, the husband of Friendswood city councilwoman Deirdre Brown, was safe and on his way to Hartford Monday night.
Brown said her husband finished the race shortly before the explosions.
“He heard the bombs, but did not know what it was until he heard about it on the radio as he drove to the airport,” Brown wrote in a Facebook message.
Brown said an assistant interrupted a legal meeting she was in to tell her about the explosions. She spent a difficult hour trying to reach her husband before she was able to get through.
Brown said she had gone to Boston with her husband last year, but this year decided not to take off work. She said here husband was in Boston alone
Another local woman, Laurie Petty, of Friendswood, was safe, but still separated from her family, according to a family friend.
Renee Bradshaw said she had spoken by phone with Joe Petty, who was in Boston with his wife, two children, mother-in-law and two other relatives. Bradshaw said the entire group was safe and had spoken to Laurie Petty by phone, but were still trying to find her in the city.
The marathon’s results website does not record a finishing time for Petty. Soon after the explosion, the race was canceled and runners were redirected to a Boston park.
A fifth local woman, Lizi Martin of Hitchcock, was registered to run in the race, according to the marathon’s records, but did not record any split times. The Daily News was unable to reach Martin or confirm she was in Boston during the race.
The Red Cross and Google had both set up websites for friends and family members attempting to find information on missing loved ones.
Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds contributed to this report.