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Teen hero honored after saving mother, 3 children from burning car in Connecticut

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WATERBURY, Conn. (CNN) – A Connecticut community honored a local teen last week.

They say he saved the lives of four people trapped inside of a burning vehicle. Three of them were small children.

When a burned-out car was engulfed in flames, three small children, including a 1-year-old baby were inside.

The only thing prevented a tragedy, a teenager from Waterbury named Justin Gavin.

“Life is too short,” Gavin said. “So I just thought if that was me in that situation, I would want someone to help me so I definitely did what I can do.”

The 18-year-old was walking on West Main Street in Waterbury when a flaming car rolled to a stop.

A young woman was driving with three kids in the back seat.

Gavin was smart enough to be terrified but rushed to help anyway.

“I was scared cause I didn’t know whether the car was gonna blow up in that instant,” Gavin said. “I grabbed the baby and the two little girls out of the car and I helped her out the car.”

The driver told police Gavin saved all four of their lives.

Hours after the dramatic rescue on Wednesday, Waterbury’s police chief, Fernando Spagnolo presented Gavin with a Challenge Coin, one of the city’s highest honors.

“It’s just to acknowledge this heroic act that you conducted (Wednesday) and just a token of my appreciation for you being a great member of this community,” Spagnolo said. “Okay. Appreciate it. Thank you very much.”

“No problem,” the teen hero said. “It symbolizes bravery and courage. And the police chief told me whenever I feel like I need some courage or some type of way like brave or something like that, always just look back at the coin and think of that day.”

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