BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore doctor and fire department official who completed the Boston marathon 20 minutes before the deadly explosions that killed three people said he was saddened but not surprised by the attack.

Dr. Wade Gaasch said he was about three blocks away when the explosions happened Monday and was not able to provide aid because police were directing the public away from the scene.

Gaasch, who is a former firefighter and emergency medical technician and also serves as the emergency medical services director for the Baltimore fire department, said he has always wondered when something like Monday’s bombing would happen, not if.

“As much as they try to prepare for things like this, it’s still kind of a relatively uncontrolled setting. It’s not like a football game or a baseball game where everyone can be inspected as they walk in the gate,” Gaasch said. “That’s not the case with a marathon or a triathlon or something like that.”

Gaasch, 58, said he could see the smoke and feel the blasts. However, he was far enough away that he couldn’t immediately tell what happened.

“It kind of sounded like a starter cannon that I’ve had at some races that I do, only much bigger, but within just a matter of seconds I thought, `No, that’s not right,”‘ Gaasch said. “And probably about 20 seconds later, the second one went off and immediately there was no question in my mind.”

The explosions at the Boston Marathon happened near a medical tent, where many doctors and aid providers were already stationed.

Baltimore will host its annual marathon Oct. 12.

Asked if he could think of any way the city should act or prepare differently than Boston, he replied, “That’s a tough question, and we always think about that. I can tell you Boston does everything I could imagine.”

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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