The nervous aftermath of the finish line explosion extended to Newton, where police and firefighters put up yellow tape and diverted crowds at around 3:30 p.m. because of an unattended backpack that aroused suspicion.
Yellow tape blocked off the area near the intersection of Centre Street and Commonwealth Avenue. A bomb-sniffing dog from the State Police failed to detect anything in the backpack and police allowed traffic to resume at about 4:45 p.m., said Newton police Captain Marc T. Gromada.
Organizers diverted runners off the course, on to a side street and began arranging to have buses pick them up. Runners were contacting family members.
Organizers handed out Mylar blankets to keep the runners warm and planned to bus them to the Boston College Law School.
“We’re trying to get everyone into one spot and then we’ll get buses. The city is closed,’’ a race organizer in Newton said.
“It's scaring us all,'' said Marathon runner Maryanne Donato, of Bristol, RI, ’
“Spectators on the side of the course, started yelling at us, get off the course,’’ Donato said, recalling she heard about the explosion at about mile 20. “One woman just screaming at us, get on the carriage lane. People started calling us on phones. It was a little chaotic…
“We’re all sending messages to our families,’’ Donato said.