Pierre Rouzier, a team physician for the UMass Athletic Department, has volunteered at the Boston Marathon five times and was at the finish line when the explosions occurred on Boylston Street Monday. Matt Vautour has his story of bravery and compassion.
When he heard the first blast, Rouzier thought it was a celebratory sound.
"My first thought was that it was one of those obnoxious touchdown cannons that you hear going off at a football game," he said. "I thought somebody's best friend finished the marathon and they brought in one of those little cannons. But it was way too loud for that. I was standing next to a tech guy who said, 'I wonder if one of our pieces of equipment just exploded.' "
But they saw the smoke billowing from the first blast and then heard the second.
Rouzier turned to fellow doctor Chad Beattie, and together they wondered whether they should stay put or head toward the blast. Not knowing if more explosions awaited them, the two ran toward the smoke. Rouzier texted his wife and sons: "I'm going to where the bomb went off. Say a prayer.
In a Gazette interview in Amherst Tuesday afternoon, Rouzier recalled Monday's dramatic events.