Glass Shop Manager Reflects on Boston Bombing: Past and Present

bostonHub Glass general manager Randy Ibbitson and his crew, based in Somerville, Mass., were among the first workers allowed on the site of the Boston Marathon bombing in its immediate aftermath. They were tasked with swiftly boarding up a nearby building that endured major glass damage from one of the blasts on that tragic April day a year ago and replaced the near-20 litesof glass three weeks later.

On the heels of the awful event and given its severity, Ibbitson was sure his phone would be ringing off the hook with inquiries about security glazing in the subsequent months. Those calls, however, were few and far between.

“There wasn’t nearly the amount of [inquiries] that I expected,” Ibbitson says, adding that the steep cost of blast-resistant glass seemed to be the main factor in deterring potential clients.

But while Ibbitson’s projection of an increase in demand for security glazing wasn’t spot-on, his memory of that day is. “I’m glad we could help out,” Ibbitson says, “but it wasn’t pleasant to see. Let’s put it that way.”

He has particularly vivid memories of the second floor of the building, which was supposed to be the setting of a post-marathon party but was instead just a mess of scattered belongings left behind by a frantic crowd.

In fact, Ibbitson’s company was permitted on the premises even before the hazardous materials response team got to work on it. His crew of eight men went on to work the site for 13 straight hours in order to get the five stories of damage boarded up.

Hub returned within the next three weeks to put in the new glass, and consequently, Hub’s regular schedule of jobs was delayed about a week.

Businesses located closer to the bombing site were hit a little harder in that regard, reports Steve Logan, manager of Prime Glass & Mirror in Watertown, Mass. He told USGlass last summer that they were “still recovering” from the scheduling issues more than a month after the tragedy. “Everyone was very sympathetic toward the issue,” Logan said at the time.

A year removed from the tragic event and its aftermath, which ultimately claimed the lives of four people and injured nearly 300, the community and its neighbors are gathered Tuesday not only in preparation for this year’s version of the race, but to commemorate last year’s victims. A flag-raising and moment of silence were held at the finish line between 2:30-3 p.m. today.

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