Extraordinary People

Teen boy risks life to rescue mum and her three kids from burning car wreckage

The car became engulfed in flames after an electrical failure.

It’s engrained into us from when we’re tiny to call emergency services when there’s a problem, but what happens when there’s no time?

One lad took it upon himself to save a family as their car became engulfed in flames.

Justin Gavin was out running errands in Waterbury, Connecticut, when he spotted a vehicle driving erratically down the street was on fire.

Instead of panicking, the 18-year-old remained cool in the crisis and immediately raced over to help as the car came to a standstill.


Initially, he tried to help the mother at the wheel and the three young children in the back open their door handles.

However, as they were too hot to touch, instead he asked the eldest child, nine, to unbuckle herself and her younger siblings, four, and one, from their seatbelt and car seat so Justin could carry them to safety.

Fortunately, Justin was able to use the outside handles to open the doors, before he helped the mum from the driver’s seat and saved her brood.

While Justin’s story has captured the heart of his native USA, making national news, the humble lad said he was just doing what any other passer-by would have done.

Justin said: “Some people think teens are just lazy, but that’s not true.

“I wouldn’t consider myself a hero; I’d just want someone to help me if I was in that situation and that’s why I ran to the car.

“This was really about someone else’s wellbeing, not mine.”

He added: “I feel good about it. Situations can be scary, especially if your life is in danger, but if you jump into action and help someone you feel good about it.”

Waterbury Chief of Police Fernando Spagnolo was so impressed that he rewarded Justin for his efforts with a ‘Challenge Coin’ – an award usually gifted to outstanding cops.

Chatting on the TODAY network, Spagnolo said: “Justin showed the country we need each other and need to engage in selfless acts.”

Spagnolo added: “Actions like his show how we, as a society, get through social unrest with an open heart and an open mind. Justin’s getting the attention he deserves, and we want more of this; what he did was so awesome.

“The community has really rallied and he’s garnered lots of support nationwide and he’s handling it so well. I think he’s going to do great things in the future.”

The Chief of Police is now hoping to introduce Justin to the family he saved ­– whose accident started by an electrical failure – once the mum and her children have recovered.

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