VIDEO: FIRST PART OF INTERVIEW WITH PAUL HEINTZ
Just before the first explosion went off, Maureen Heintz of West Chester was only a few hundreds away from the finish line, having her picture taken and enjoying her first Boston Marathon.
“She was probably just 200 yards from the blast when the first one went off. She said could feel the concussion of it and the buses were shaking where she was standing,” her husband, Paul Heintz said.
When Paul heard about the explosions, he was already back at the hotel, roughly two miles from the finish line. He immediately did the math in his head and knew that his wife had to be just finishing the race.
He went for his cell phone and tried to call her cell, but it wouldn’t go through. He then planned to go back, but received a text just before he left the hotel.
“I’m fine. Very scared, but don’t come down here. They are sending us all away. Sit tight,” the message from his wife read.
“They” were the police. Just moments after the first explosion, an officer looked at Maureen and told her and everyone around her, “get your stuff and move. That way (away from the explosion).”
Then the second explosion went off. That was when things got very chaotic and hectic, Paul said.
Runners then raced to the buses, which held their gear and clothes.
Marathon volunteers remained on duty instead of fleeing, throwing bags out the windows of the buses. Runners helped each other find their bags and escape the area.
“They were pushing the people out because they needed to immediately have the ambulances (there). The response was pretty tremendous, she said, in terms of how quickly help was on the scene,” her husband said.
With it still fresh in her mind, Maureen wasn’t able to talk about the experience to The Enquirer or WestChestBuzz. After getting back to West Chester at 2 a.m., she was back at work this morning. Maureen is principal of Colerain High School.
“I think work is what she needs right now, just to keep her mind occupied because she was very shaken up. Several times throughout the evening, she just broke down crying,” her husband said. “She was very visibly shaken, but she is tough.”
Maureen and Paul, who owns Mojo Running in Olde West Chester, went to the marathon with other local runners Jill Cummins, Robin Delnoce, both of West Chester; Susan Vogt of Loveland; Dan Rebella of Cincinnati; Lecia Holley, Lisa Wilber, both of Loveland; and Heather Fenton of Fairfield. All of the runners in the group were uninjured. Cummins, Vogt and Maureen Heintz all crossed the finish line just minutes before the first explosion.