18-year-old honored after pulling family from burning car in Connecticut


WATERBURY, Conn. (NewsNation Now) — A Connecticut teenager is being honored as a hero after pulling a family of four from a burning car.

Justin Gavin, 18, was walking on West Main street in Waterbury when he noticed an SUV on fire according to NewsNation affiliate WTNH.

The vehicle, which had lost its brakes, came to rest in a nearby parking lot and Gavin ran to the scene and pulled a 1-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old from the backseat, reported local newspaper the Republican-American.

He then helped the driver unfasten her seat belt and escorted her away from the fiery vehicle as it burst into flames. The mother credits Gavin with saving their lives.

“I said (to the driver), ‘Don’t thank me,’” Gavin said. “It’s just something I did, because what’s the point of letting somebody lose their life?”

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo met with Gavin later in the day and awarded him a special coin to thank him for his heroism.

“One of the things I do to recognize heroic feats or excellent work is provide them with a challenge coin,” said Spagnolo. “It’s just to acknowledge your heroic act and a token of my appreciation for you being a great member of the community.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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