Central Florida reacts to fatal Boston Marathon blasts

Local 6 speaks to Orlando residents in Boston for marathon

BOSTON - Local 6 spoke to an Orlando woman who was a spectator at the Boston Marathon minutes before the blasts near the finish line killed three people and injured more than 140 others.

Minutes before two bomb blasts shook their hotel room, Track Shack owner Betsy Hughes watched her husband, John, cross the finish line at the marathon.

"We heard this huge explosion and I don't tend to be jumpy about that, but I knew it was bad," said Betsy Hughes.

John and Betsy Hughes came with nearly 50 others in their running group.

"Suddenly you start hearing all the rumors and whatnot, hey they think they might have found something at a building next door, you also don't know what if, what if there's going to be something else?" Jon Hughes said.

"You have to know it's not something that happens all the time, it's a unique situation," Betsy Hughes said. "You just have to have faith that life's gonna go on."

Ann Brendzen tells Local 6 she was standing at the finish line cheering on her boyfriend, James Teryl, who finished about 10 minutes before the blasts occurred.

"I heard two very loud booming sounds almost like a cannon going off," Brendzen said. "They weren't real close together probably about 10 seconds apart and the second one is the one that really peaked my alarm and I turned around to the finish line and I knew exactly what had happened.

Brendzen said she and her boyfriend went with a group from Orlando and says that everyone in her group is OK. She described the scene to Local 6, saying runners were covered in blood.

According to the Boston Marathon race website, 591 Floridians were participating in the marathon, including:

  • 37 from Orlando
  • 13 from Winter Park
  • 2 from Daytona Beach
  • 5 from Maitland
  • 8 from Melbourne
  • 1 from Altamonte Springs
  • 1 from Kissimmee
  • 2 from Ocala

About 27,000 people were participating in the marathon in total. Local 6 news partner Florida Today reports 13 Brevard County residents were registered to run in the marathon.

Local agencies tell Local 6 they are urging citizens to be alert and aware of suspicious activity around them.

"Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings is closely following the explosion near the Finish Line at the Boston Marathon. Orange County deputies have been made aware of this incident and asked to be vigilant as they conduct their patrols," OSCO stated in a release. "As always, citizens are encouraged to be alert, aware and if they see something, say something. Any suspicious activity should be reported to local law enforcement."

Orlando International Airport has not reported any security changes by Homeland Security. Meanwhile, flights were banned over the marathon site.

Orlando Police Department officials say they are "closely monitoring the situation that has occurred at the Boston Marathon. Officers have been reminded to be extra vigilant in their duties."

OPD also said they are taking appropriate precautionary measures, including additional staffing at events for the comfort of those in attendance.

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