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Baby 'Hope' safe after being surrendered to Safe Haven Baby Box in Michigan City

WSBT 22

Police say the Department of Child Services is helping decide the future of a newborn baby surrendered to a baby box.

It happened Tuesday night at a volunteer fire station in Michigan City.

Fire officials say this is the first time nationwide that a baby has been safely surrendered at a Safe Haven Baby Box.

The baby is safe and said to be in good condition.

First reponders say a silent alarm triggered inside the baby box. When they opened it they found a baby girl.

"Last night, here at the Coolspring Township Fire Department, a life was saved,” said Capt. Mike Kellems with the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office.

Firefighters with the all-volunteer Coolspring Township Fire Department say the box worked exactly as it was meant to.

"So I open it up and I just open it up and that baby just looked me right in the eyes,” said Fire Chief Mick Pawlik.

Pawlik was the first to arrive. He says the baby was about an hour old. The umbilical cord was still attached. They rushed her to an ambulance.

"I'm elated. Him and I were like proud papas in the back of the ambulance. By law we have to ride in with this baby,” said Pawlik.

Indiana's Safe Haven Law allows a newborn to be safely surrendered anonymously to an Emergency Medical Services provider at a hospital emergency room, fire station or police station.

Once inside the baby box, an outside door locks and first responders say the baby is kept warm with a heated pad.

Safe Haven Baby Box founder Monica Kelsey says hope of saving a life is why she fought to have the box-- one of two in the state-- installed in April of last year.

"Because we didn't give up this little girl is going to have a future,” said Kelsey

Now, it's a box that's delivered Hope.

"We've talked, we're going to name her Baby Hope,” said Assistant Fire Chief, Warren Smith.

A spokesperson with the Department of Child Services confirms that no later than 48 hours after taking custody of the child, DCS will contact the Indiana Clearinghouse for Missing Children.

That's administered by the Indiana State Police to determine whether the infant has been reported missing.

DCS will place the infant in emergency foster care.

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