Area native describes Friday in lockdown

BOSTON – Like a snow day, only with a lot of extra drama.

That’s how East Liverpool native Tom Dunlap described life in his adopted hometown of Boston on Friday.

Dunlap, 26, who has lived in Boston since the fall of 2011, said things in his neighborhood of Brookline were “quieter than normal” on Friday as authorities conducted a massive manhunt for the second of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Boston residents were told to “shelter in place” while heavily-armed police searched for the suspect in Watertown, separated from Brookline by a few miles and the Charles River.

The week for Dunlap and his fiancee, Emma Sombat, 25, was bookended by violent, dramatic events that are in stark contrast with small-town life in his native East Liverpool. But the two twentysomethings were taking it in stride.

“I’m working from home,” said Dunlap, an analyst with an investment management firm in downtown Boston. “My company does a couple drills a year, so it’s fairly straightforward. With the snowstorms we had in the winter, I’m more well-versed with signing in from home than I care to be.”

Dunlap, a 2005 graduate of East Liverpool High School, was at work on late Monday afternoon when two explosions rocked the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people and injuring many more. With the subway temporarily closed, Dunlap and his colleagues had to walk to a hotel and take a cab home.

His fiancee escaped harm although she was volunteering at the marathon for her employer, a cancer research hospital that sponsors a team every year. Stationed at mile 25, about a mile from where the explosions occurred, Sombat left the race when her shift ended at 2:30 p.m. and was walking home at the time of the bombings, Dunlap said.

On Friday morning, after a night of violent confrontations between police and the suspects, Dunlap learned that the city was on lockdown and the subway, his main form of transportation, was shut down.

“I knew I was on hold for at least a little bit,” he said, noting that things changed “once it became clear that there were fugitives on the loose.” A morning off of work turned into a half day, then a full day.

“It’s kind of like being snowed in, but with an extra level of drama,” he said, “and a little sense of danger.”