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Essex Teen Saves Lives Of Family Members In Fire

ESSEX, Md. (WJZ) — An Essex teenager was shy when asked about how he saved the lives of his little brother and grandparents Thursday morning.

Suzanne Collins explains the family was rescued from a raging fire in their Essex home.

The fire started downstairs, so 15-year-old Charlie Knisley was first to notice. His grandmother — who had the boys for the night — let him sleep on the couch to watch the O’s game.

“It felt a little hot and I felt a sizzling noise. I woke up and it was kinda like you could see smoke, so I started yelling and nobody was answering,” said Charlie Knisley III.

Knisley awakened the others. His 10-year-old brother jumped into his arms from the second floor and his grandparents got to safety.

“As soon as they jumped from the windows, the windows just burst out in the house and flames started coming from left and right,” said Knisley.

The boys’ father raced to the scene, not knowing the fate of his children or his wife’s parents.

“I think I ripped all the skin off of my feet because I was running barefooted. I just ran down the street and as soon as I turned the corner, I could feel the heat off the house,” said Charlie Knisley Jr., children’s father.

When the father arrived at the neighbor’s home, everyone was safe there.

“I’m proud of him. My father just passed away and he said that he woke him and told him wake everybody up and get ’em out of the house,” said Knisley Jr.

The father says he now knows his son is a man and could take care of all three of his little brothers if he had to.

According to family, the grandparents will be OK. Mary Falkner has some leg injuries after jumping from the window, and her husband David is getting some oxygen.

The whole family is so proud of the teen who is shy and embarrassed by all the attention.

“He saved their lives. If it weren’t for him they probably wouldn’t be here today,” said Jason Blackburn, uncle.

It was an emotional time outside the emergency room as the grandparents recover.

The Essex Senior Center located at 600 Dorsey Avenue is taking donations for the family to get back on their feet. For more information call 410-887-0267.

Comments

One Comment

  1. susan says:

    Way to go Charlie!!! Your family is proud of you and prayers for you and your family are in my heart.

    1. theresa says:

      Great Job Charlie. I have known your mom for along time. She works for the same company that I do. You should be proud of yourself. You are a true hero.

  2. Tyler Harper says:

    NO he doesnt smoke he is a teen and he was on the first floor

    1. Brent Hutchinson says:

      what, teens don’t smoke?

      1. John C says:

        he don’t Brent

      2. Brent Hutchinson says:

        why because you’re a neighbor and have never seen him? Believe me, kids smoke and they hide their smoking. My mom didn’t know I smoked until I was 22 years old. I was good at hiding it from ppl she knew so it wouldn’t get back to her. Try to think outside of the box. I’m not saying he started the fire, I’m saying that this is how ppl feel like jack@sses because they find out later that while they were commending him and giving him praises that he was actually the reason why it happened. I’m not saying this is the case, but we don’t know all the info.

    2. John C says:

      No, im not a neighbor. I have known him all his life. It dont matter what you do, smoke clings to clothes,it has an odor. I am a smoker so i do know. Did you know he runs 5 miles a day? Tell me what smoker can do that because i couldnt. Thats the problem,dont bash someone or blame them when you..dont know him and as you stated..don’t know all the facts. Do you even imagine what was going through his mind at the time? Do you even imagine what is going through his mind right now? he lost his grandfather right before christmas and now this. You my friend and everyone else need to keep the negativity out of this. put yourself in his shoes and have some compassion

  3. Sheila Flanigan says:

    Cheers for Charlie. What a brave, selfless act. What a hero.you should be proud of your actions. you are a great kid.

  4. liz says:

    ur amazing charlie!!!!!!!! my 5yo cs u as a hero

  5. jack says:

    I think its was a bit over exagerated a bit but that was pretty brave good job man

  6. Josephine and Bert says:

    We are very proud of you Charlie. God is good.

  7. whatnow says:

    A wonderful story that leaves tears in my eyes. I am so heartened by this story, I am not even going to comment individually on some of the idiot blogs on here. Shame on you people! Much love and prayers to this family. It sounds like they know how lucky they are.

    1. Josephine and Bert says:

      I agree 100%.

  8. Daisy says:

    Great job, Charlie! Not everyone would have the presence of mind in a life threatening situation like that. I am thankful I have never been faced with an event like that and hope I would be able to react with as much bravery as this young man!

  9. angie says:

    dont get me wrong,. charlie did do a great brave thing under that kind of pressure. i was curious as to how the fire started.

    1. Atim Ant says:

      Wow angie, you’re a prick…

    2. Brent Hutchinson says:

      angie, you’re not…you can’t blame these ppl for not having an open mind,

      1. ha ha says:

        You don’t have an open mind, sweet heart, you are a pessimist. It’s a common rationalization for people who are narcissist and believe that their experiences are typical for all people. People like you also find it very difficult to give praise to others unconditionally. It’s natural for those with that type of personality disorder to plant seeds of doubt so as to draw the attention away from the subject and place the spotlight on themselves. It is best to ignore them and keep the focus on the brave young man who proved himself beyond what most men in this country ever do in their entire lives.

        p.s. these types, like Brent and Angie, also find it necessary to defend each other and they find it next to impossible not to defend themselves when their opinions are attacked…just watch what they say to me.

      2. ha ha says:

        *narcissistic

  10. John C says:

    @ Jack..exaggerated? Lets see now, If Charlie wouldnt have woke up,they would all be dead. If he would have just ran out the door,three would be dead. That isnt the case here,the boy saved his family. So, its far from being exaggerated.

    I just love how when something good takes place people have to add negativity. Do not judge people that you dont know. I have known little charlie his whole life. He is a great kid

  11. joe says:

    great job man really you did a very brave thing

  12. Jane says:

    Great job Charlie. As for Angie you are a flippin IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Leonard says:

    Way to go! I’m proud he kept his wits about him!

  14. Steve says:

    Good job Charlie….God was watching over you guys…Some people are idiot for jumping the guns assuming the teens were smoking..it could be anything…electrical malfunction..etc. Before my mom got pregnant with me…they brought in a stray black cat and one night..during the winter when the furnance was running..somehow the blanket was over the heat vent..it stared smoking..the black cat ran to the bedroom where my parents were sleeping and woke them up alerting them the house was catching on fire..my parents got everybody out including the bkack cat…if it wasnt for the black cat..I probably wouldnt be here. And people say black cat are bad luck. Let people be the judge.

  15. Jeannette Edwards says:

    Great job, Charlie – how wonderful and quick thinking you were – and your dad is right – you’re a great big brother and would be able to watch over your 3 brothers. Great job raising such a fine young man – Charlie and Carrie. (but the people who know you already knew that)

  16. AT says:

    Kid needs a haircut.

  17. tylerjake says:

    Hey AT! I bet your fat as_ needs a diet! In case you just got back to Earth, this is the way most kids at that age have their hair now. By the way, when was the last time you did something courageous?

    1. AT says:

      Lol, fat? I weigh 150lbs. Way to assume.

    2. Brent Hutchinson says:

      he was just kidding

  18. cms827 says:

    Finally a good story, with a great ending!! Enough said!!

    1. pigeon says:

      You have that right!

  19. John C says:

    Brent..do you know him?

    1. Brent Hutchinson says:

      No, but I grew up in that neighbor hood. It’s right by Essex Elementary school. My great grandmother used to attend that sr citizen home on Dorsey Ave. My grandfather David Preston Hutchinson used to run a boy’s home on Dorsey Ave. The kids around there are far from angels. I don’t know this kid but we don’t know all the facts. That’s all I’m saying. He probably is a hero, but would we call him a hero if he accidentally started the fire and then got scared so he woke everyone up because he couldn’t control it:? We don’t have all the facts.

      1. pigeon says:

        Comments were unnecessary and not warranted. Why alway try to put a cloud over something with a good outcome?
        There are kids in EVERY neighbor who are far from being angels & who haven’t gotten their wings – God isn’t ready for them yet!

      2. John C says:

        “No, but I grew up in that neighbor hood. It’s right by Essex Elementary school. My great grandmother used to attend that sr citizen home on Dorsey Ave. My grandfather David Preston Hutchinson used to run a boy’s home on Dorsey Ave. The kids around there are far from angels. I don’t know this kid but we don’t know all the facts. That’s all I’m saying. He probably is a hero, but would we call him a hero if he accidentally started the fire and then got scared so he woke everyone up because he couldn’t control it:? We don’t have all the facts.”

        I am done with this conversation! This statement here just shows your ignorance. Basically what you are saying is that any child raised in essex is a hoodlum. Way to stereotype. Guess that says a lot about yourself since you grew up there.

      3. JQP says:

        Why, Brent, would you even bring it up? Why not allow this young man to be given the honor? Why do you feel the need to tear this young man down? Are you jealous? Have you never done anything important in your life? Because, that’s what it sounds like. It seems to me like you are a very sad, unimportant nobody who can’t let a boy be praised for his courage because maybe it makes you feel just a little better about yourself… By the way, it was a space heater, not a cigarette. Those Essex hoodlums and their damnable space heaters!

        Way to go, Charlie. Clearly, most decent people think you are a real hero…myself included.

      4. Fireman says:

        Hey Brent. . .I grew up a few blocks away and I don’t smoke. As a matter of fact I now attend college full time and work for the fire department. Just because you couldn’t get your life together doesn’t give you the right to drag everyone down with you. You couldn’t do what that kid did, give props where props are due.

        Just glad to see everyone is ok. It was a nasty fire.

  20. blaah says:

    what he did was amazing, im so proud of you charley

  21. Former essex resident says:

    Wow this is one amazing kid and what he did was just wonderful,,he saved his little brothers and grandparents,,If he would not have been sleeping on the couch god only know if anyone would have made it out of that house alive. It’s a real shame how people just assume the boy was smoking because he’s a teenager I have a 18yrs. old that can not even stand the smell of smoke and 13 who feels the same way so don’t assume every teenager smokes because they don’t. Especially when they have parents that raise them and teach them right from wrong..This boy is a true hero and deserves to hear and read nothing but that..Fire start everyday from many things in homes not just from people smoking,, I am sure his parents are so proud of him right now and his grandparents..They have obviously raised a very brave young man..Wishing everyone in the family a healthy recovery.

  22. Former essex resident says:

    Wow this is one amazing kid and what he did was just wonderful,,he saved his little brothers and grandparents,,If he would not have been sleeping on the couch god only know if anyone would have made it out of that house alive. It’s a real shame how people just assume the boy was smoking because he’s a teenager I have a 18yrs. old that can not even stand the smell of smoke and 13 who feels the same way so don’t assume every teenager smokes because they don’t. Especially when they have parents that raise them and teach them right from wrong..This boy is a true hero and deserves to hear and read nothing but that..Fire start everyday from many things in homes not just from people smoking,, I am sure his parents are so proud of him right now and his grandparents..They have obviously raised a very brave young man..Wishing everyone in the family a healthy recovery. You are wonderful example to young people

  23. Shirley Binko says:

    it’s about time we get good news , sick of hearing about who got shot and by whom, or why .Great job Charlie , you are a good young man

  24. Allen Brockmeyer says:

    Yes great job Charlie, that’s what i call a real superman. Wishing everyone to a speedy recovery.

  25. Essex Teen. says:

    why try and trash a 15 year old boy for saving his family?? Some people need to get a life and grow up and see that he did a good thing saving his family..Way to go charlie , you are a true hero!!!

    1. Jackie Auburn says:

      absolutely. Some are just low life jerks. Trying to pick a fight is their way of saying they are a jerk..

  26. jason blackburn says:

    okay listen im getting tired of reading all these negative comments about my newphew….look at the house it is destroyed…he saved my parents life and his little brother…it was a carbon monoxide eletrical fire…so who ever wants to say he was smoking at 3:30 in the morning u people need to keep ur comments to urself..he is an athlete and loves his sports…he is raised right by my sister and my brother in law…they teach him right from wrong..just because u no good people want to write STUPID COMMENTS ON here on what u THINK its your opinion doest mean its true…. u may have raise ur kids the wrong way…BUT CHARLIES PARENTS RAISED HIM THE RIGHT WAY…if he wasn’t their that night my parents and one of my newphews would be dead..so go F@#K urself and get a life…im proud of u charlie…u people are just jealous of a 15 year old getting all the spot light on what a brave boy he is and that he is a HERO..can i say a@#holes ….love uncle jason

    1. Gloria Kay Rouse Hardy-Stone says:

      WAY TO GO JAY….ITS EASY FOR PPL TO POINT FINGERS OF BLAME, THEN TO PAT CHARLIE ON THE BACK FOR A JOB WELL DONE…….NOT TOO MANY TEENS COULD KEEP IT TOGETHER LIKE HE DID TO GET EVERYBODY TO SAFTY……..MOST TEENS WOULD HAVE FALLEN APART WITH ALL THAT ACTION AROUND. GIVE CHARLIE A BIG OLE HUG FROM ME…..(((((HUG))))

  27. Cheryl Boucher says:

    u tell em jason!!!❤ u guys!!!

  28. Lori Moore says:

    Great way to react Charley! It’s wonderful you were there and saved your grandparents and your lil brother! Dont worry about the negative comments in this thread. I totally agree w/ Jason. Hoping for a quick recovery for your grandparents. Glad everyone is ok!

  29. ProudEssex DAD!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    Mr. Hutchinson oh wait let me start over Mr. Cretin Hutchinson this is a father of 2 wonderful children born and raised in Essex and still residing here. Didn’t you live in Essex for awhile with your mom Leslie? And if i re-call wasn’t there a fire at the Alpine Apts. years ago? This just shows what kind of man you really are hiding behind a keyboard n profiling Essex teenagers! I am a grown man so lets say we meet and hash this out what do you say Mr. pusillanimous Hutchinson? By the why don’t you fix that house up in Essex that is still in the family!

    1. Ronald Lee Norman says:

      Way to go

  30. ProudEssex DAD!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    Mr. Cretin Hutchinson If you need help with definitions for a few of the words in my comment to you I will bring the thesaurus!!!!!!!

    1. baltimore resident says:

      ouch I felt the burn even through the screen, some people just have to be jerks, way to go DAD put him in his place, not everyone from Essex is a piece of trash, except those that want to be , the high rent district has a few winners in Towson too

  31. Ryan Linkous says:

    It is truly unbelievable some of the comments I have been reading. To assume that because he is a teenager and has to be a smoker because you were a teenage smoker is ridiculous! Just because your parents did a horrible job raising you doesn’t mean that everyone else had POS parents. This is obvious because if your parents did a better job raising you then you would not leave accusation comments about a teenager that did such a commendable act. I think you need to spend less time leaving comments and more time looking in the mirror!

    @jason do not let your nephew take any stock in the negative things that are being said here. not only should you, your family, and the community be proud of him but he should be proud of himself and not let anyone give him any reason to doubt it.

  32. Brenda F says:

    REALLY!!!!!! YOU NEGATIVE PEOPLE SHOULD BE ASHAMED, YOU ARE THE REASON ESSEX GETS A BAD NAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. Jamie says:

    LITTLE CHARLIE……your an amazing young man….:)

  34. jason blackburn says:

    thanks everyone.. i know who u all are for leavin comments on the positive side…these negative people on here need to get a reality check..

  35. ProudEssex DAD!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    Hey Charlie remember what i told you yesterday about being judged it will be one time in your life and its not now! These morons leaving negative blogs don’t have a life and will never measure up to you in their lifetime! It was an pleasure meeting you and your family yesterday, any parent in the world would be proud to have you for a son!!!!!!!! GREAT JOB I GOT YOUR BACK YOUNG MAN!!!!!!!!!! Oh and hey Hutchinson or any other moron out there wants to meet me and talk face to face name the time and place i will be there and probably a crowd behind me to listen to our conversation so to speak what do you say Cretins or don’t you have any mountain oysters?

  36. Michelle Fairley says:

    Wow, I thought I have seen stupidity and ignorance in the lowest forms than I read this blog tonight. I have also known the Knisley’s for almost 20 years. I have never met a sweeter, more respectful teenager than Charlie. Charlie, you are a hero. For those of you commenting that don’t even know them, you are idiots. Maybe that is how you raised your kids but definately not the way the Knisley’s have raised their children. I don’t understand today’s society. Do people have nothing better to do than to get on a blog and bash someone that you don’t even know. Maybe you should take that energy and use it towards something that will make this society a better place instead of bashing a good family going through a crisis. Little Char- I only hope you aren’t reading this trash. It’s sad that a 15 year old has more brains and maturity than some of the idiots posting on here.

  37. Couirtney N says:

    Good Job Charlie! I’ve known this kid all my life and I always knew he would do great things in his life and he’s already started😛 . ~ Courtney

  38. Jackie Auburn says:

    please donate what you can.. blankets, clothes, shoes, towels, personals etc .. 410-887-0267

  39. Tiffany Bonolis says:

    Wow really? Jason my heart goes out to you & your family. Those of you on here with ur negative opinions should keep it to yourself. Charlie u did a brave thing saving ur loved ones and we are proud of you! The family may have lost a home full of memories but thanks to Charlie they still have each other! Family is key thank god everyone can move past this tragedy live laugh love together!

  40. Angel b says:

    Way to go Charlie ! Everyone is so very proud of you . I have boys and I would hope they would be as courageous as you ! Your a hero and don’t think anything less !

  41. Proud Essex Mom says:

    So now you hear nothing but crickets chirping…as all of the IDIOTS who cast doubt on this young man aren’t men and women enough to apologize even after being told the cause of the fire. You “adults” and I use that term loosely, should be ashamed of yourself. What Charlie did is extremely impressive and took a great deal of courage. He also showed an immense amount of maturity and level-headed thinking. This kid saved his little brother by telling him to jump and that he would catch him, saved his grandparents by waking them up. No one has ANY right to make any negative comments against this young man, because what he did is truly remarkable. Charlie is a friend of my son, Scott, and I can honestly say that I’m very happy that my son has friends the caliber of Charlie.

  42. HooDatIS? says:

    WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER HE SET THE FIRE TO BE A HERO…
    VISIT MY BLOG
    http://ethicalfutures.wordpress.com/

  43. ProudEssex DAD!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    Well i see we have another Cretin i would like to meet what do you say HooDatIs do you have the mountain oysters to hash this out face to face with a man and not a hero teenager or are you a coward like Brent Hutchinson? Hey Charlie i have not seen you in awhile hope you are doing well young man!

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