For the second time in five months, a baby was placed in a Safe Haven box at a northwest Indiana fire department.
The child was placed in the baby box at the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department, located in Michigan City, Indiana, on Sunday evening, fire officials said.
Department members’ pagers went off at 7:05 p.m., signalling that the box had been activated, Chief Mick Pawlik said at a news conference Monday.
Lt. Chuck Kohler was leaving his home to go to the grocery store at the time and instead headed for the fire station, arriving less than a minute later, he said.
“When I pulled the baby out of the box, my first thought was baby Grace – saving grace. It just popped into my head,” Kohler said.
He and his colleagues stressed that the discovery of the baby – with its umbilical cord still attached – was a positive outcome in what can often be a difficult job.
“Any time I think about this, I smile,” Kohler continued. “It’s a happy, joyous occasion, we have a happy baby. The purpose for this box going in is being used and it’s wonderful.”
The Safe Haven baby box was one of two installed at Indiana fire departments in April 2016, allowing parents to drop off newborns anonymously, with no questions asked, under state law.
The drawer in the box is designed to silently contact 911 when it is opened. Motion sensors contact 911 a second time when the baby is placed inside, and the person leaving the baby is given a third option of pushing a button to contact emergency officials.
The box has a heater to keep the baby warm and can only be opened from inside the building once it is closed with the baby inside. The two in Indiana are the only Safe Haven baby boxes nationwide, though advocate Monica Kelsey, president of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc., said there are plans to install one in Ohio.
In November, the Coolspring Township Fire Department’s baby box was used for the first time when someone surrendered a newborn girl, just an hour old, wrapped in a sweatshirt. Firefighters who discovered her named her “Baby Hope.”
As they did in November, fire officials once again shared their gratitude for the newborn’s parents.
“We can’t thank the mother enough. We can’t thank the parents enough,” Kohler said.
“We don’t know the situation, but to make this choice, to be strong enough to make this choice is wonderful. They had to choose something very hard and they chose right,” he added.
The child was placed in the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services, authorities said, and will be placed in foster care.
Kelsey asked that anyone looking to adopt the baby not call the hospital to inquire, but instead enter the proper channels to becoming a foster parent.