HPD officer honored after saving elderly couple trapped in burning car

Photo courtesy: Michael K. Nicholls
Photo courtesy: Michael K. Nicholls

State lawmakers took time on Thursday to honor one of Hawaii’s local heroes in blue.

In February, Honolulu Police Officer Kerwin Unten was at home in Pearl City when he heard a commotion outside where a group of carpenters were working.

“One of the workers were calling for help and he motioned me into the garage. And we went up the fire escape and when we opened the door on the second floor, we saw a car engulfed in flames with two people inside,” Unten said.

Kenneth Tanaka and his wheelchair-bound wife, Elaine, were trapped in the burning vehicle.

Officer Unten then climbed inside and pulled the elderly couple to safety.

If not for his actions, the incident could have been fatal.

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