Baby dropped off at East Nashville fire station - WSMV News 4

Baby dropped off at East Nashville fire station

Posted: Updated: Aug 27, 2014 05:12 PM
The baby was dropped off at Fire Station 14 on Holly Street. The baby was dropped off at Fire Station 14 on Holly Street.

A newborn is in safe hands after being dropped off at an East Nashville fire station on Tuesday night.

The infant was handed over to firefighters around 11 p.m. at Fire Station 14 on Holly Street.

Firefighters took the 2 to 3-day-old baby to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for an evaluation and said the child appears to be unharmed.

Officials said no laws were broken because of the state's Safe Haven law, which allows new mothers to drop off babies at safe havens if they are unable to care for them.

"We're not judges," said District Chief Charles Shannon with the Nashville Fire Department. "We're there to offer a service and to offer the love that comes from a department like this."

Firefighters were surprised, but not upset, to find the infant.

"We prefer for people to do exactly what this person did, and that is to bring the child to us and give us an opportunity," Shannon said.

Nationwide, more than 50 babies are abandoned each year, and three-quarters of those end up dead. In the last 28 days, there have been eight babies abandoned, three of which died.

"We just want people to do the right thing, and the right thing is to take them to a safe place," Shannon said.

Tennessee law states a child should be dropped off within 72 hours of its birth. Authorities ask that abandoning parents leave information about the baby, as this is likely the only opportunity to know anything about the child's medical history.

"That certainly would be exciting, but we're in the real world," Shannon said. "There's a reason why they're dropping the child off. And if they're dropping the child off, the chances are great that that's not what's going to happen."

The Department of Children's Service will soon take over this case.

"They're going to investigate and the child will likely come into foster care," said Rob Johnson with DCS.

Meanwhile, authorities are applauding whoever is responsible.

"We appreciate whoever brought the infant to Fire Station 14 last night," Shannon said. "They're giving this child a shot at life. The child is in great hands at this point and we appreciate them."

The mother or abandoning parent has about 30 days to contact DCS and change his or her mind. If there is no effort to make contact, the state will then start the process of terminating parental rights.

The state is obligated by law to look for anyone related to child, so DCS will post a legal notice.

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