Paramedics were treating several victims at the scene, and police ordered onlookers to back away from the area. Troops from the Massachusetts National Guard were assisting police as well.
Onlooker Josh Matthews said he heard the blast, then saw police running toward the scene.
"We just heard a lot of sirens, and people were kind of frantic, and it was a bad situation, so we got out of there," he said.
A spokeswoman for Massachusetts General Hospital said four patients were being treated there.