William R. Holden, 64, a retired sergeant on the Metropolitan Police Department who was cited for bravery on one occasion for rescuing people from a burning building and on another occasion for capturing a burglar without using his gun, died Dec. 24 at Anne Arundel General Hospital.

He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Mr. Holden, who lived in Annapolis, was born in Washington. He graduated from the old Central High School and served in the Army Signal Corps in the South Pacific during World War II.

He joined the police department in 1948. He spent much of his career as a detective on the sex squad.

He retired in 1970 as a sergeant in the uniformed division. Since then he had worked as a security employe for the family of Paul Mellon, the art patron and philanthropist.

In 1954, Mr. Holden and his partner, Roger M. Rooney, were cited for bravery in rousing the 75 residents of an apartment house on Irving Street NW when the building caught fire in the middle of the night. Mr. Holden was praised in particular for carrying a small child to safety and then reentering the building to help an elderly resident of the third floor to safety.

In 1958, Mr. Holden and another partner, Charles W. Young, were cited for capturing an armed suspect who had fired at another policeman during a burglary attempt. The two received particular praise for making the arrest without resorting to use of their own guns.

Mr. Holden was a member of Elks Lodge No. 622 in Annapolis, the Fleet Reserve Association and the D.C. Retired Policemen's Association.

Survivors include his wife, Doris L. Holden of Annapolis; two children, Elizabeth Lynn Nagel of Seabrook and Raymond Thomas Holden of Exeter, R.I.; two brothers, Robert, of Silver Spring and John R., of Annapolis, and five grandchildren.