DANVERS — By chance, Danvers High soccer coach Mike Chase and his friend, Danvers High custodian Dan Marshall, found themselves with family and friends at the epicenter of the second Boston Marathon bomb blast Monday afternoon.
It started as a glorious day with great company, Chase with his wife, Dena, and Marshall with girlfriend Lauren Gibbs of Gloucester, standing out at a high-top table with a prime viewing spot of the race in front of the Atlantic Fish Co. on Boylston Street.
But it did not end that way.
“It was a great day up until that point,” said Marshall, who ran into Chase by chance at the Beverly train station and told him where they were headed to watch the marathon. They didn’t see each other again until they met up at the restaurant.
Chase later helped an off-duty Lynn firefighter carry a severely injured young boy to an ambulance 30 yards from where the second bomb went off.
Marshall tended to 8-year-old Martin Richard, the Dorchester boy who was killed in the blast and who has become the face of the tragedy. Bill Richard, the boy’s father, is a 1988 graduate of Salem High. The boy’s mother and little sister were also injured in the bombings.
“It’s extremely sad,” said Marshall, 32, who graduated Danvers High in 1998, a year behind Chase, 34. “It’s extremely sad, but I don’t know what happened. I just sprang into action. He was the first one I saw, and I sprung to him. I wish I could’ve helped more.”
Marshall said he and Chase are not heroes. “We did what we had to do.”
Chase described the first blast as taking place about 75 yards to their left. He was on the phone with his brother trying to direct him to the restaurant. Seconds later came the second blast, a white flash, then a bang, which Chase described as a loud, high-pitched scream followed by silence. He was blown back. He said he was lucky to be standing next to a 21/2-foot-tall planter.