Heroic Connecticut Teen Rescues Mother and Three Children From A Burning Car


September 30, 2020

A Waterbury, Connecticut teen is being hailed as a hero after saving a mother and her three children from a burning car, Upworthy reports.

Justin Gavin was leisurely strolling down a Connecticut block when he saw a small SUV covered in flames drive past with a little girl in the car window. Other drivers were honking their horns and exiting their vehicles to alert the mother to the impending danger, chasing her down to let her know that her car was on fire. When Gavin realized that the mother was unable to stop the car, he took matters into his own hands, chasing the car down and helping the passengers to safety.

“I’m yelling, ‘Stop the car! Your car is on fire! Your car is on fire!’ I just felt like if I was in that situation, I would want somebody to help me out. I guess my instincts took over.” Gavin said.


The 18-year-old ran after the car, reaching it once it had come to a stop and immediately started helping the mother out of the driver’s seat. He then began helping the three children, ages one, four, and nine, escape to safety.

“It kind of got scary because I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to get everyone out in time. And luckily, I did,” he said.

Shortly after, the car was completely overtaken by the flames. The mother now credits Gavin with saving their lives and the Waterbury Police Department has honored the teen with a “challenge coin,” a token of appreciation for his heroic efforts. 


Chief Fernando Spagnolo awarded Gavin with the special coin for his courageous act, saying, “I hope that when you have that coin it just reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and that family that you saved.” 

Photo Courtesy  of Waterbury Police Department

Gavin said the whole experience has “made [him] realize life is short.” He hopes to continue to do as much good as possible while he still has time. He said the coin will serve as a reminder. “It symbolizes bravery  and courage. The police chief told me whenever I feel like I need some courage, or some type of…bravery or something like that, always just look back at the coin and think of that day,” Gavin told WFSB.  


Thank you for your courage Justin! 

Photo Courtesy of Upworthy

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