Off-duty firefighter hailed as hero for actions in Boston blasts

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April 24, 2013, 10:29 pm
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(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Boston) - Off-duty first responder Matt Patterson was in Abe & Louie's right near the second blast at the Boston Marathon last Monday.

"You know it's marathon friends. Same people, same party, every year," said Patterson.

Patterson makes a living saving lives, but on Marathon Monday, he wasn't thinking about his job as a firefighter and medic for the Lynn Fire Department.

He was inside Abe & Louie's on Boylston Street near the finish line as he is every year, having some food and drinks with his girlfriend Alex Gomes and some friends.

Then bomb one went off at 2:50 p.m.

"Everything kind of slowed down, it was five seconds of..." he paused. "To be in downtown Boston on Boylston Street, 100 yards from the finish line, and you can hear your heart beat, it's not right," Patterson said.

Bomb number two went off 12 seconds later right near Abe & Louie's, and Patterson, who did a tour in the army in Afghanistan, knew what he had to do.

"(I told everyone) get up, get to the back. Get to the kitchen, away from the windows. You know, I don't know if there's a third blast. There's one, there's two, why not a third, why not a fourth? They were getting closer too, you don't know where it's going to come out. So I'm yelling for people to get back, making my way towards the sidewalk, and for some reason, tunnel vision. I just see this child, in the middle of the street," Patterson said.

This iconic photo, almost unrecognizable as a child in his arms moments later. He and another man wrapped a tourniquet around her leg and got her to an ambulance.

"All I saw was he picked up this tiny little petite little thing, and I just saw this poor girl's leg was completely gone," said Gomes.

He would later learn that the girl he saved was Jane Richard, the sister of 8-year-old Martin, the Dorchester boy who died that day.

"Matt you strike me as a humble guy, but you saved her life, would you say that?" I asked.

"I think that I can agree with you on that. Had I not been there or someone else, not come to assist, yes," Patterson said.

His hometown city of Lynn honored this hero, and so did the Red Sox when Matt got to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Saturday.

The ball arrived in the mail Wednesday, signed by Will Middlebrooks with a note from the Sox and these photos.

And as you now know, this is not the kind of guy who shies away from much in life.

Matt says he will be back at Abe & Louie's for the 118th running next Marathon Monday

"You can't let then rob you of who we are and what we do. Ignorance is not going to win," Patterson said.

The Abe & Louie's owners tell NECN they are re-doing the interior and will likely re-open Saturday, though they say nothing is set in stone.

Tags: Boston, massachusetts, Josh Brogadir, Lynn, Boston Marathon bombings, Boston Marathon bombing, Matt Patterson, Abe and Louie's
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