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Teen honored after rescuing family from burning car

A teen in Waterbury saved four lives, including children, from a burning vehicle last Wednesday

WATERBURY, Conn. — On Wednesday, we learned that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes! 

In a video posted to their Facebook page, the Waterbury Police Department thanked an 18-year-old who helped save a mother and children from a burning vehicle.

At that time of the fire, police said 18-year-old Justin Gavin was walking when he saw a car in flames, rolling to a stop on Sperry Street.

Without hesitation or concern for his safety, Gavin decided to help the family escape the growing fire. 

Gavin approached the car while flames were still brewing. He was able to open the door, allowing allow occupants to escape. 

Meanwhile, as the flames grew larger, he noticed three kids, the youngest being a one-year-old, were also stuck inside the car. Gavin went back in to help remove all of the children away from the burning vehicle. 

The mother thanked Gavin for saving their lives and he was also thanked by the police department.

"Thank you, Justin Gavin, for being a great Waterbury citizen. Today you prevented a horrible tragedy," said Chief Fernando Spagnolo.

Chief Spagnolo honored Gavin in front of his girlfriend and the command staff members for his heroic act. 

"One of the things I do to recognize people's heroic feats or excellent work is I provide them with what's called a challenge coin. This is very descriptive of my administration here at the police department," said Cheif Spagnolo. "It's just a way to acknowledge this heroic action that you conducted today and a token of my appreciation for you being a great member of this community."