Spotlight: Teen Pulls A Mother And Her Kids Out Of A Burning Vehicle, While Others Just Watched
A Connecticut mom and her three small children were saved by a teen hero as adult on-lookers yelled, honked their horns, but ultimately did nothing to help as her car became engulfed by flames. This all took place nearly 9 months ago in the town of Waterbury. 18-year old Justin Gavin spoke exclusively with actress Drew Berrymore on her new show 'Drew Gooder':
"I wouldn't call myself a hero, I just did what was right," he said when he detailed the events that unfolded "A lot of people called me an angel about it, but I just did the right thing."
Gavin said he was walking down West Main Street, in the process of running an errand, when he saw the burning vehicle roll to a stop on Sperry Street.
According to the Waterbury Police Department, Gavin first opened the driver's side door of the vehicle to allow the mother to escape.
“I felt helpless. All I could do is pray. I was screaming for help," the mother, Latrisha Chambers, told NBC Connecticut after surviving the near tragedy.
Gavin said to Barrymore that he told the eldest of the three children in the vehicle, who was nine years old, to unbuckle the car seats of her four and one-year-old siblings; according to the department, Gavin then pulled the youngest child from the car to safety.
"It was scary for me, I didn't know what was going to happen," he said of the incident. "I thought that I was going to lose my life and they were going to lose their life. But if I lost my life, I was going to do it saving somebody else."
Barrymore presented Gavin with a framed proclamation from Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary thanking him for his heroic feat; season passes and merchandise for his favorite basketball team, the Brooklyn Nets; and Air Jordan merchandise.
"There's no way to monetize or match your act of saving an entire family, but we just wanted to start in some way," said Barrymore. "I believe there are humans masquerading as angels... You are what we need to believe in--we need to believe in angels in human form."
Berrymore suprized the young hero with a message from his idol- Gavin's favorite basketball player, Carmello Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers, also filmed a surprise, personalized message that was aired on the show.
"I heard about your story, I wanted to let you know how inspiring and courageous you are. You're a true hero," said Anthony. "I'm inspired to have someone like you supporting me throughout my career."