Glendale Lt. Brian Cohen was driving home earlier this year when he came upon an overturned SUV that was moments away from being completely engulfed in flames.
A collision on the Golden State (5) Freeway south of the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway had turned the vehicle on its passenger side and left the driver tangled in her seat belt, trapping her.
Cohen pulled over to help the panicking woman amid smoke and fire from the wreck.
Staying by her side, Cohen kept his cool as he tried to calm the driver and directed a bystander to get a fire extinguisher from an arriving California Highway Patrol officer.
As flames near the rear of the SUV were put out, the woman was able to free herself with Cohen's encouragement and eventually aided her out of the vehicle through the sunroof.
His actions from that crash earlier this year earned him the Medal of Heroism at the 19th annual Glendale Police Awards Luncheon on Thursday, presented by the Glendale Police Foundation.
"There were a lot of people there that deserve credit for what happened," Cohen said at the Glendale Hilton ceremony.
"I was able to comfort her and take her mind off the fact her car caught fire and she was stuck," he added. "Having done this before I was able to direct others who had really good hearts on what to do. Ultimately, we all worked together as a team."
He and 19 other Glendale police officers, detectives, sergeants and lieutenants were honored for their bravery, skills and commitment.
ABC7 news anchor David Ono helped introduce each honoree as they were handed their awards.
Police officials also recognized a handful of local residents for their aid in leading to criminal arrests as well as volunteers and civilian workers within the department.
Officer Shaun Carlson also earned a Medal of Heroism for stopping a suicidal knife-wielding man with a single gunshot, while Det. Nelson Aguillon got his medal for stopping two burglary suspects in North Hollywood from attempting to flee and trying to crush him with their car.
Aguillon shot the driver in the chest and both men were taken into custody.
Lt. Tim Feeley was given the Officer of the Year Award for his training of officers and leadership as well as his extensive volunteer efforts.
He's traveled to Armenia to build relations with law enforcement agencies there and, when he's home, volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Center.
"It was something my parents instilled in me," Feeley said.
19th Annual Glendale Police Awards Luncheon Winners:
First Place and No Second Chance Award: Sgt. Toby Darby
Second Place: Officer Brian Young
Third Place: Officer Nik Orloff
Community Service Awards
Officer Sue Shine
Officer Matt Prokosch
Det. Petros Kmbikyan
Det. Jason Ross
Officer Keith Soboleski
Officer Tino Saloomen
Distinguished Service Awardees
Sgt. Manny Fernandez
Det. Jeremy Aliaga
Officer Chad McDonald
Officer Chris Weise
Officer Brian Young
Police Communications Operator Elisa Lozano
Police Communications Operator Ashley Schultz
Medal of Valor
Officer Kyle Heinbechner
Officer Matthew Landsberger
Medal of Heroism
Lt. Brian Cohen
Officer Shaun Carlson
Det. Nelson Aguillon
Volunteer of the Year
Reserve Officer of the Year
Reserve Officer Emin Gharibian
Professional Staff Employee of the Year
Crime Analyst Dan Olson
Officer of the Year
Lt. Tim Feeley
Follow Arin Mikailian on Twitter: @ArinMikailian.