Homeless men rushed to help after Manchester attack

Posted at 8:37 AM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 08:37:50-04

(RNN) – Two homeless men who rushed to help victims in the aftermath of the terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, are being hailed as heroes.

Stephen Jones, 35, told ITV News that he was sleeping near the Manchester Arena Monday night when he heard a bang.

He initially thought the noise was a firework but quickly realized what happened when he saw injured children.

“They needed the help. I'd like to think someone would come help me if I needed the help. ... It was just one of those things, an instinct to go and help if someone needs your help,” Jones said.

The man says the children had “blood all over them” and were screaming and crying.

He told ITV News that he wiped blood from their eyes and had to pull nails and glass out of their arms and faces.

“If I didn't help, I wouldn't be able to live with myself for walking away and leaving kids like that,” Jones said.

Jones says a lot of homeless people sleep outdoors in the area near the arena. One of them, 33-year-old Chris Parker, told The Guardian he was in the foyer when the bomb went off.

Parker says he regularly asked concertgoers for money in the foyer, and people were happy before the explosion, which knocked him to the floor.

The man says he ran to try and help, tending to a child with no legs and a woman in her 60s who had serious leg and head injuries. The woman died in Parker’s arms.

Jones and Parker have been hailed as heroes by people on social media, and multiple crowdfunding campaigns have been started for both of them, most of which have raised several thousand pounds.

“Just because I'm homeless, it doesn't mean that I don't have a heart and that I'm not human still, you know,” Jones said.

Both Jones and Parker say they have been homeless for about a year.

In the aftermath of the attack, many others lent a hand to those affected.

Hotels in the area took in concertgoers, many of whom were children, who had been separated from their groups. Rabbis delivered coffee and food to officers outside the arena Tuesday. Sikh temples offered food and accommodation to anyone in need.

In addition, Manchester residents formed long lines outside city blood banks, until finally the National Health Service told people simply to sign up as blood donors because they had all the blood they needed.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. CNN contributed to this report.