LA PORTE COUNTY, Ind. -- It was a big fight for the Coolspring Township Fire Department to get a Safe Haven Baby Box. Many officials were against it, but on Tuesday night, they proved why it was needed when a baby was dropped off there for the first time.
The boxes are equipped with alarms that notify local officials when a baby is placed inside. They are designed to be a warm and secure environment until officials arrive.
Around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the box’s silent alarm went off and the fire chief’s pager buzzed.
The chief thought it might be a false alarm like before. He thought maybe someone put a cat or a dog in the heated box.
“So I open it up and that baby just looked me right in the eyes,” Chief Mick Pawlik said. “Now the baby is quiet, calm, checked her out real quick inside of the box.”
The baby girl, they named Baby Hope, was maybe an hour old and still covered in blood.
“I don’t know what this girl went through. I have nothing but good things to say. It’s a win-win scenario,” Pawlik said.
There were not judgements at the fire station. That’s what the box is for. There are no cameras to see who put the child in. There won’t be an investigation to find the parents. No questions are asked.
“I would really like to thank the mother who did this for doing the right thing. She stepped up to the plate and did the right thing. She turned the baby into the Baby box instead of us finding the baby in a ditch or woods. We hear so many horrible stories,” Assistant Chief Warren Smith said.
For a busy volunteer department that responds to nearly 1,200 calls annually, this one call made their year. They felt like proud papas.
“Until you’re a firefighter, cop, medic and see all the bad stuff that we see. I’m elated for once we see something good,” Pawlik said.
Baby Hope is at the hospital now and soon, Indiana Child and Family Services will find her a home. Police said the infant appears healthy and in good condition.
People are already talking about adopting her.
There are only two Safe Haven Baby Boxes in the country, both in Indiana -- this is the first time someone has used one. There are other similar baby boxes elsewhere in the country.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes is organization that helps mothers in crisis surrender their babies with anonymity. They hope to expand the program to more locations.