HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) -- There was black smoke, screaming, and confusion.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, runners from North Alabama witnessed what they described as "mass chaos."
"We heard the bombs go off and everyone was just running, trying to get away from the area," Suzanne Taylor of Huntsville said.
Taylor had just completed her third Boston Marathon when explosions shook the area.
"It was very scary, very scary," Taylor spoke with WHNT News 19 from her hotel room a few blocks away from the site of the bombing.
According to the Boston Marathon list of entrants on its website, 20 runners from Madison County were participating. There were five entrants from Lauderdale County, two from Marshall and Morgan counties and one each from Lawrence, Franklin, Limestone and Cullman counties in north Alabama.
Taylor said she had just completed the race and received her medal, a bottle of water and a blanket that all runners get at the end of the race when the explosions happened.
"There were two explosions, one big one and one small one - right after the other," she said. "At first, we thought it was a compressor. Then everybody started saying it was a bomb. Everybody just started trying to run. It's hard to run after you run a marathon but there were people rushing to get out of the area.
Tim Adams was inside the lobby of a building about a block away from the blast zone.
"We came outside and saw everyone running, it was pretty controlled where we were located but you could tell something very bad was happening," Adams said during a phone interview Monday afternoon.
Tanya Collum is a runner from Muscle Shoals she had crossed the finish line and was headed away from the area when she heard the explosion.
"It sounded like a car crash, I was hoping that was what it was but I knew in the back of my mind it was something a lot worse," Collum said.
(WHNT News 19 newsparter The Huntsville Times/ AL.com contributed to this report)