Teen Saves Mother and Her 3 Children from Burning Car
October 8, 2020 by Cathy Stack
“Stop the car! Your car is on fire! Your car is on fire,” yelled 18-year-old Justin Gavin. In horror, he spotted an SUV engulfed in flames driving erratically past him.
He and other bystanders tried desperately to alert the driver, but she was unable to stop the vehicle. He glanced around but didn’t see any emergency responders nearby so with no time to waste, he jumped into action frantically chasing after the burning car.
He reached the car as the driver was finally able to come to a stop and unbuckled the panicked woman from her seatbelt allowing her to quickly escape. Once she was rescued, his heart dropped when he noticed there were three young children including an infant still stuck inside the back seat. The car was quickly becoming engulfed in flames. As the flames grew larger, he immediately pulled all of the children from the vehicle to safety. Gavin was miraculously able to save the mother and her children (ages 1, 4 and 9) before the vehicle was overcome by flames minutes later. “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,” recalled Gavin of the daring rescue.
The very grateful mother credits Gavin with saving her family’s life. When asked about his motivation to risk his life for strangers, Gavin said, "I just felt like if I was in that situation, I would want somebody to help me out." He added, “I guess my instincts took over.” He admitted being terrified that the car would explode but he acted regardless in order to save the family.
Fire and Police arrived on scene to extinguish the flames after receiving several frantic 911 calls from bystanders. Later that day, the Waterbury Police Department proudly awarded Gavin with a "Challenge Coin" to honor his heroic act and provide a token of appreciation for being an outstanding member of the community. “I hope that when you have that coin, it reminds you of this day and you can reflect back on all the good that came out of this for you and the family you saved," the Chief told Gavin who was all smiles.
The dramatic experience left Gavin feeling inspired and taught him a “powerful life lesson - to not take life for granted.” “It made me realize life is short," he said. In a follow-up interview he said he would like to one day be a Marine or a First Responder because he enjoys helping others.
PassItOn would also like to thank Justin Gavin, a true hero who risked his own life to help rescue a family. His heroic action is the perfect example of the value of bravery. His brave act that fateful day prevented an unimaginable tragedy from occurring. A mother and her three children are alive, safe and sound today thanks to their hero. Please help us honor Justin by sharing this story of bravery in action.
Please tell us about your everyday Hero. The Heroes among us are ordinary people whose actions leave a lasting and positive impact in their communities and demonstrate the potential in all of us. Their heroic acts uphold our shared values. Help honor these individuals by creating a billboard and sharing their story at http://www.passiton.com/your-billboards/create
P.K.D.Goswami from IndiaJUNE 10, 2021
I salute the brave hero, and the parents who has given birth such a hero. Such type of child born one among a million.
Bethany T. from Hershey, PAMAY 13, 2021
Justin is a hero. He was amazing to be able to risk his life to save a mother and her kids from that car on fire, which could have killed him. He wasn't just one of the people that watched but he went into the fire to help them. Not every day someone does something like that.
Jericho from Hershey, PAMAY 13, 2021
You are a brave guy Justin I can't believe you saved a family. Most people wouldn't run after the car, but you did. I like that because I think you were the bravest out of all the people there. Plus even though you knew the car could blow up, you persevered. People now can look up to you and do acts of their own bravery. You're a good role model. Justin thank you.
Joelle K. from Hershey, PAMAY 13, 2021
Thanks, Justin. You're a very brave boy who has exhibited great character in the save that you made. You risked your life - willingly - to save strangers. We don't see that type of bravery every day. You showed us the real meaning of, "The Golden Rule". Justin Gavin said that he would like someone to do that for him and while that is not the only reason why he did that, he plainly just has commendable valor. We need more of "Justin Gavin's" attitude in the world.
Liana G. from Hershey, PAMAY 13, 2021
That was really great. It's hard to act right away to a situation as hard as this and the fact that you were the only one to go and help them was really cool. Some people think that adults can only do big things, but I feel like as more time passes, more and more kids are starting to take action in that too. They are influenced and it's really nice to see everyone doing great things because it inspires more people and it shows them that they can be great too.
Armani R. from Hershey, PAMAY 13, 2021
Honestly one of the most amazing and inspirational stories that I've heard about! What a heroic act Justin displayed saving that whole family! If we had more people in this world like Justin, we would show so much love to one another and have each other backs
Zaira from Hershey, PAMAY 13, 2021
When I first saw this story I immediately asked myself if I would be able to do what he did without any hesitation. Then I realized that I'm very glad I was not him because I think I would have to think to myself if I was willing to risk my life. What an incredible story; he is so chill about it like it was no biggie for him. I really am thankful for people in the world like this and honestly hats off to him.
Marlie B. from Hershey, PAMAY 13, 2021
I think that he was a good person and had a motive to save them and let them live a full life. He was very brave and went to a burning car to save these children. Also, he could have just did nothing and kept on walking or just called 911 and waited, but he took the initiative and save the kids.
Tiffany from HersheyMAY 8, 2021
Justin, you are the definition of a TRUE HERO! Amazing story!
Carolyn from St. Louis OCTOBER 10, 2020
What an amazing inspirational story!
What a brave young man ! He is our future!! This is what America is about, helping others !! Justine God bless you!!
Midge from Laurel, MarylandOCTOBER 9, 2020
You will be blessed for the heroic deed you did. This is a heartwarming story.
Jeannine from OhioOCTOBER 9, 2020
God bless you Justin!!
AnonymousOCTOBER 8, 2020
a real hero
Kalindi from KentuckyOCTOBER 8, 2020
Justin you are a hero , you stepped up. You did the right action by saving lives. May you be forever Blessed young man... You truly deserve it..
Jim Imhoff from Colusa, CAOCTOBER 8, 2020
I'm sharing this with my 480 students at our primary school! You changed the world by your actions.
Andy Larpenteur from WashingtonOCTOBER 8, 2020
Very special HERO Gavin saves family. :-)
Ryan Karls from 2000 Vine StreetOCTOBER 8, 2020
what a brave person
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