Homeless men were among the heroes who helped others after the Manchester Arena explosion

“It’s often the people with the least that tend to offer the most.”

By Jessica Chandra

Homeless men were among the unsung heroes in the aftermath of the explosion at the end of Ariana Grande’s concert at Manchester Arena, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people and injured 59 others.

Stephen Jones, 35, was sleeping near Manchester Arena on Monday night (local time) when he heard the explosion. He ran to the arena, where he saw “a lot of children with blood all over them crying and screaming.”

“Just because I’m homeless, it doesn’t mean I haven’t got a heart and I’m not human still,” Steve told ITV News. “They needed the help, I’d like to think that someone would come and help me if I needed the help. It’s just instinct to go and help if someone needed your help, and it was children, it was a lot of children with a lot of blood on them screaming and crying. We were having to pull nails out of their arms and a couple out of this little girl’s face.”

“It had to be done, you had to help. If I didn’t help, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for walking away and leaving kids like that,” he added.

Chris Parker, another homeless man who often stayed in the area around Manchester Arena, was in the foyer at the time of the attack, and was knocked down by the explosion. He was still able to help victims get out of the building, including a girl who lost her legs in the blast.

“I saw a little girl… she had no legs,” he told The Independent. “I wrapped her in one of the merchandise T-shirts and I said, ‘Where is your mum and daddy?’ She said, ‘My dad is at work, my mum is up there.’”

Chris also detailed how a woman, who he believed to be in her 60s, died in his arms after the explosion. “She passed away in my arms. She was in her 60s and said she had been with her family,” he recounted. “I haven’t stopped crying. The most shocking part of it is that it was a kids’ concert. There were nuts and bolts all over the floor. People had holes in their back.”

“It’s the screams I can’t get over and the smell…” he continued. “I don’t like to say it but it smelled like burning flesh. I don’t think anything has sunk in yet. It’s just shock.”

Since then, people have taken to Twitter to praise the men who put their lives in the face of danger to help others, and crowdfunding pages have been set up to help get Steve and Chris off the streets.

The campaign for Chris has already raised more than £20,000, while the campaign for Steve has almost reached its £15,000 target.

As the world recovers from the shock of the terrorist attack, which has been claimed by ISIS, several of the victims have been identified, and Ariana Grande has returned to Florida to be with her family.

The 22-year-old British man responsible for the act, who caused the explosion with an improvised explosive device, died at the scene.