Child, 8, Among the Dead in Boston Marathon Explosions
BOSTON (ABC) -- An 8-year-old child was one of three casualties when bombs tore into the Boston Marathon today, a law enforcement source told ABC News.
Area hospitals were flooded with at least 99 people, including several children with severe trauma, who were injured when bombs ripped through the crowded Boston Marathon on a day that was supposed to be one of celebration.
Within hours of the explosions, law enforcement officials, including those with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, were questioning a potential person of interest at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where many of the injured were taken, sources told ABC News. Officials cautioned that it was too soon to say whether the person was an important witness or a person of interest.
The casualties were caused by two bombs that exploded almost simultaneously near the race finish line on Boylston Street before 3 p.m. The area was crowded with runners and spectators, and thousands of runners were still completing the race at the time of the first explosion.
Police said that three people were killed. At least 99 were taken to hospitals with injuries, including some which have been described as amputations and severe burns.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis declined to say whether he thought the devices were acts of terrorism, but said, "You can reach your own conclusion based on what happened."
According to law enforcement sources, the first bomb exploded at the Marathon Sports running store, and blew out windows in four nearby buildings, injuring 15 to 20 individuals. The second blast occurred about 50 to 100 yards away, severely injuring more bystanders, Davis said.
Authorities believe they were caused by small portable devices, sources told ABC News. More than 400 National Guardsmen in attendance at the marathon helped secure a perimeter around the scene.
One witness described the scene as being like a "warzone," while a doctor who was standing nearby said he immediately started treating people with severe leg injuries.
"Six or so people went down right away on my left, mostly with leg injuries. One gentleman had both legs below the knee blown off," Dr. Allan Panter, a physician who witnessed the event, told ABC News. "One girl I treated, I could not find any obvious injury to her torso, but she arrested. She was between 24 and 30."
"The people had singed facial hair and stuff, most of the injuries were on their legs," Panter said. "I was 20 feet away, one storefront down, my ears were ringing. Everything blew out from the storefront."
Police initially said a third explosion occurred later at John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, but later said it was related to a fire. No one was injured at the library, police said.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a temporary flight restriction over the area of the explosion.
Police are asking for all video footage of the finish line at the time of the explosion.
An emergency room doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital told ABC News that they have performed several amputations, particularly on victims whose legs were injured. Many of the victims are runners still wearing numbers on their shirts, the doctor said.
He described the injuries as "shrapnel-type wounds" as possibly caused by "pipe bombs," though police have not confirmed that description.
Earlier, trauma nurse from Massachusetts General Hospital told ABC News that medical workers had set up a temporary morgue at a medical tent at the road race and were treating patients with severed limbs and children with severe burns.
In the immediate aftermath of the explosions, Boston EMS personnel could be seen shuttling the injured out of the blast area on wheelchairs. Several of the victims were bleeding from the face.
A doctor who was in the medical tent, about 150 yards away from the explosion, at the time said it looked like a "warzone," with "lots of blood," and said that all physicians were told to go to the scene and help the injured.
Boston police set off a third explosion before 4 p.m. and were sweeping the area, checking dozens of bags left behind by runners who evacuated the area after the explosions. Officials are also testing for chemicals to help determine what kind of device was used, according to police.
Attorney General Eric Holder was in touch with the FBI in Boston and President Obama was notified of the blasts. All of Boston's police force was ordered to report to duty.
Security precautions were taken elsewhere beyond Boston. In Washington DC, Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House has been closed to pedestrians and there is heightened security.
In Boston, police have told people in area to avoid trash cans, according to witnesses.
The explosions erupted on what is usually a festive day in Boston. It is designated Patriots Day and most offices are closed for the celebration and the marathon.
Debris from the explosions could be seen scattered throughout the spectators stands and finish line area of the marathon as emergency personnel cleared the area.
Video of the explosions showed plumes of white smoke pouring into the air above the street where runners were.
More than 26,000 runners were registered to compete in this year's marathon. The marathon clock was at shortly after four hours at the time of the explosions, which is the average time it takes runners to complete the Boston race, potentially putting the greatest number of competitors at risk.
Wind: 5 MPH
Humidity: 88 %