By Jamie Musick


Eighteen-year-old Jeffrey Peters Jr. was at the right place at the right time Tuesday morning. What seemed like a typical day turned into one that Peters and his neighbor, Debra Knuth, will not soon forget.

Peters was watching television in his family’s Asbury Manor East trailer with his nephew, where they have lived for nearly a year, when a loud noise shook the home. “I felt and heard the explosion and I ran out as fast as I could,” said Peters.

And luckily he did, because every minute counted.

His neighbor’s home was in shambles, with walls blown away and the roof collapsing into the structure. After calling the woman’s name, he found Knuth in her bed where she was yelling, “Help me,” according to Peters. Along with a neighbor, Peters made his way through the rubble, pulled her out of bed and helped her get outside the trailer — only a couple of minutes before flames quickly engulfed the structure, destroying it.

“I was trying to do my part in the community,” said Peters. “I feel happy and glad I got her out. I feel like a hero.”

And his father, Jeffrey Peters Sr., couldn’t agree more. “I’m very proud of him,” he said. “It takes a lot of guts going in there.”

Meadville Central Fire Department, Meadville Volunteer Fire Department and Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department, along with ambulance crews, arrived at the fully involved structure fire at 108 Asbury Manor East at 9:49 a.m. Tuesday. One of two Asbury trailer parks in the city’s Fifth Ward, Asbury East has dozens of occupied mobile homes.

Crews evacuated trailers near the burning home, and it took approximately 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze, according to Meadville Fire Chief Tunie Hedrick.

Knuth’s burns and injuries appeared to be serious, witnesses said. She was transported to Meadville Medical Center, according to Hedrick, then transferred to Western Pennsylvania Hospital in Pittsburgh. Information about her injuries or her condition wasn’t available.

Cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Jamie Musick can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at

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