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FBI returns Boylston Street to Boston

Mayor Thomas Menino. left, spoke to FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, right, as the FBI turned over Boylston Street to the city.

Robert F. Bukaty/Assoicated Press

Mayor Thomas Menino. left, spoke to FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, right, as the FBI turned over Boylston Street to the city.

The FBI returned control of Boylston Street to the city of Boston at about 5 p.m. Monday, just over a week after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the office of Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement.

The explosions, which killed three people and injured scores of others, forced the shutdown of a swath of Back Bay homes and businesses for seven days as authorities combed what they called a large-scale crime scene.

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Reporters who gathered at police barricades at Newbury and Exeter streets were not allowed past the barricades to witness the handover, but some elements of the ceremony were visible.

The mayor’s black SUV arrived just before 5 p.m., and minutes later a bagpiper from the Boston police honor guard could be heard playing “Amazing Grace.”

The statement from the mayor’s office said Menino and Police Commisioner Ed Davis would be present and that the FBI would present Menino with a commemorative American flag that had flown at half-staff over the finish line.

The city will now begin a multiple-phase plan to reopen the street, which will include decontamination and testing of the area, structural assessment of buildings, internal inspections, debris removal, and re-entry communication and counseling.

“The most important things to do are to make sure the area is clean and safe,” said John Guilfoil, a spokesman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “We want to get residents and business owners back in there as soon as possible and we will be working diligently to ensure that.”

“We’re very grateful to the residents and business owners for the fortitude that they’ve shown over the past week,” Guilfoil said.

At 5:18 p.m., the honor guard, clad in crisp dress uniforms with gold braid loops hanging from their epaulets, emerged from Boylston Street and marched up Exeter bearing an American flag and a flag of the Boston Police Department.

FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers could be seen leaving the scene in a dark sedan around 5:25.

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