Moments from finish line, Vt. attorney escapes explosions
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | April 17,2013
Danielle Fogarty poses at the Boston Marathon finish line two days before the race.
BENNINGTON — Danielle Fogarty estimated she was about a minute from the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday when the bombs went off.
Fogarty, of North Bennington, was in Boston with her partner, Charles Waters. After the bombs went off, her first thought was to make her way to him.
“I knew Charles was going to be at the finish so I continued toward the finish, past where the second bomb exploded and so you could see that bad stuff,” she said. “Runners on the ground, blood and flesh and stuff.”
Fogarty, a partner at Donovan & O’Connor, LLP, a law firm with offices in Bennington and Massachusetts, was running as a member of a team that raised money for the New England Patriots to donate to charity.
In March, she was unable to talk about what it would be like to reach Boylston, the end of the marathon, without tearing up because of how much the event meant to her. But the reality of Monday proved to be much different.
“I was running down the right side of Boylston and the first explosion went off,” she said. “Guys behind me just were saying, ‘Geez, it sounds like a cannon.’ We were saying maybe it’s a four-hour cannon or something, something celebratory. Once the second explosion happened, which was closer to us, then the spectators just collapsed the barricades that were keeping the spectators on the sidewalk and they just rushed up Boylston toward the runners.”
Fogarty said what happened next was a miracle. By the time she got to Exeter Street, a half block from the finish line, police were stopping the runners and telling them to leave the area, but when she looked to her right, Waters was right there.
“They were just telling everybody to get out, to leave. All the police were just pushing everybody away and so we just left,” she said.
Fogarty said it was hard to know what was happening.
“Certainly, something was going wrong,” she said. “By the second (explosion), everybody seemed to realize that and whether these were bombs being detonated or like some gas explosion that there was going to be a next one, you didn’t know and you didn’t know whether it was safer to be in one place or another place.”
Fogarty said she didn’t feel scared or panic but just focused on finding her partner.
“It was so surreal,” she said. “You weren’t really processing it because it wasn’t supposed to be happening. It was unbelievable. I mean, bombs going off in Boston is unbelievable. We go to Boston all the time. Surreal because you’re just supposed to finish and just to imagine that you’re approaching the finish line and explosions are happening, it just didn’t make any sense.”
While she didn’t have her cellphone with her, Fogarty said the ride back to Vermont was largely taken up by contacting or responding to family and friends to let them know that she and Waters were unharmed. She was contacted Tuesday by the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation and told that none of the runners on her team were injured.
“What’s still processing is that we were both so close and entirely spared physically, and then connected right away,” she said. “So we were so lucky at the same time.”
Fogarty did say she had fears that “something would go wrong” Monday but her concerns were more about being injured or cut from the race.
Indirectly, Fogarty’s life has been touched by a terrorist attack before. Peter Goodrich, the son of another partner in her law firm, Donald Goodrich, was in the plane that crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Fogarty worked on an event that celebrated the works of Goodrich and his wife, Sally, through the Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation, which has opened a school in Afghanistan among other works.
Perhaps through that connection, she said she doesn’t have anger toward whoever perpetrated the bombing, although she said it was “unimaginable that anyone would intend that.”
“My heart goes out to anybody whose life is such that they could be persuaded that they could resort only to such a violent act and my heart goes out to people who experience this life that way. And that hasn’t changed,” she said.
Fogarty said she didn’t know if the experience would keep her away from Boston, where she once lived, or marathons.
“There’s something that I’m not able to articulate yet about it, and the word I just keep coming to is ‘unbelievable’ because I can’t articulate what it’s like to have witnessed it and to have seen the people injured,” she said.