Newborn baby dropped off at Houston fire station

District Chief Steve Dunbar said a man approached paramedics and gave them the baby, who was so young he still had his umbilical cord attached


By Samantha Ketterer
Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON —A man dropped off a newborn baby boy at a northeast Houston fire station Wednesday morning.

He was so young, he still had the umbilical cord attached.

District Chief Steve Dunbar said that the man approached paramedics who were returning to Station 63 off Will Clayton Parkway around 4:40 a.m.

The man told paramedics that the infant was dropped off at a church on Tidwell, and that he wanted to make sure the boy was in proper care, Dunbar said. He left without providing any more information.

The baby was taken to the hospital and appears to be in good condition, the chief said. He seemed to be carried to full term and was born within the last couple of hours, Dunbar said.

Fire stations, along with hospitals and emergency centers, are designated “safe havens,” where parents are legally allowed to leave their infants without fear of prosecution.

The law, which was passed in Texas nearly 20 years ago, is called the “Baby Moses law,” named for the biblical infant whose mother put him in a basket and cast him in shallow water to save his life. The baby was then rescued and adopted by the pharaoh’s daughter, who named him Moses.

Under the law, the child must be 60 days old or younger and unharmed. The baby must also be handed directly to an employee, not simply left on a doorstep, state officials told The Houston Chronicle in May. The baby then gets a medical examination and goes into the foster care system, as the parents’ rights are voluntarily terminated.

In this case, however, the child's parent is said to have left him at a church, which is not a designated safe haven. The boy appears to have been brought to the safe haven by a third party.

This particular case will be investigated by the Houston Police Department's special victims division, said spokeswoman Jody Silva. The investigation is not necessarily to bring charges against a parent for abandoning a child, she said, but to ensure that the baby was not kidnapped and that the parent intended to give him up.

Police urge anyone with information about the infant to contact the special victims division at 713-308-1140.

The Houston area last saw a baby left at a fire station last May, when a 9-month-old baby was dropped off at Fire Station 76. The child's grandmother, who has custody, came to claim the boy that night.

Wednesday morning's incident is just "part of the norm" in the everyday life of a Houston firefighter, Dunbar said.

"Houston firefighters, if there's one thing that's consistent, is inconsistency," he said. "We see a lot, we deal with a lot. But actually, this is actually a good story in the fact that the infant was dropped off here and not left in a perilous situation, so our paramedics could take care of it the way they do."

Copyright 2018 Houston Chronicle 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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