There were many heroes at work immediately following Monday’s explosions at the Boston Marathon, but one wild-eyed man in a cowboy hat has caught many people’s attention in the days since photos surfaced of him whisking away a man whose legs had been blown off.
Carlos Arredondo tore down the metal barricades to help medics and police get through, and who comforted and saved an amputee in danger of bleeding to death. Never in his wildest dreams did the 52-year-old Roslindale resident think the day would go that way.
“We started the day so happy because my sons were being honored by two National Guard and a runner. It was a great day to celebrate their memory,” says Arredondo, who has lost both his sons. Alexander was killed serving with the Marines in Iraq and Brian’s depression led to his suicide.
When the first bomb went off, Arredondo was busy handing out American flags and was down to his last one.
“I heard a boom and saw this big fireball and smoke. Then the second one happened and we didn’t know if another bomb was about to go off.”
He knew his wife was safe across the street so instead of fleeing with everyone else, he stayed. The volunteer firefighter, who has also worked as a rodeo clown and suffered severe burns from setting himself on fire, said his body was already wired for adrenaline and he simply went into action.
Eventually, shock set in.
“It’s strange, like, did this horrible thing really happen,” he says, astounded, still in possession of the last flag that is now stained with blood.
He hasn’t slept much and everyone is at his door -- police, FBI, press. He’s a realistic man and he fears reprisals.
“You never who is out there,” he said.
But this polite man shares the same message as 8-year-old bombing victim Martin Richard, who before he died made a banner that read “No more hurting people. Peace.” Arredondo agrees.
“Look,” he says pointing to his small garden where two big signs stand, “No more war,” he reads.