One-hour-old “Baby Hope” left in Safe Haven Box, doing well

For a busy volunteer fire volunteer fire department “this one call made their year”

By Dave Andrusko

It’s a good thing perseverance won out at the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department in La Porte County, Indiana. According to Marcella Raymond of WGN-TV, there had taken a big fight to get a Safe Haven Baby Box installed. When it went in in April 2016, it was only the second such device in the nation, according to a post on the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office.

Lo and behold last Tuesday night about 10:30, the box’s silent alarm went off and the fire chief’s pager buzzed. (“The boxes are equipped with alarms that notify local officials when a baby is placed inside,” Raymond reported. “They are designed to be a warm and secure environment until officials arrive.”)

Since no baby had ever been place in the Safe Haven Baby Box, Chief Mick Pawlik thought it might be a false alarm, triggered by someone placing a cat or a dog in the heated box.

But nonetheless Chief Pawlik arrived at the station within five minutes.

“So I open it up and that baby just looked me right in the eyes,” Pawlik said. “Now the baby is quiet, calm, checked her out real quick inside of the box.” The baby was so young–maybe an hour old–she was still covered in blood.

He called 911, then rode with the child to the hospital in an ambulance, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

“When this box was installed, we hoped that it would never be used yet were thankful that it exists for cases just like the one Tuesday night,” Pawlik told the Times. “We are grateful that the mother had this option and made this choice and we remain concerned for her health.”

Appropriately the volunteers named her “Baby Hope.”

Assistant Chief Warren Smith added, “I would really like to thank the mother who did this for doing the right thing,” according to Raymond. “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.”

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.