ROCKLIN (CBS13) — A newborn baby boy who was left at a Rocklin fire station is in Child Protective Services custody on Tuesday.
While mothers can legally leave their babies at fire stations under the state’s safe surrender law, investigators say this case is different.
The baby was found by chance just after midnight outside the station on Crest Drive. A battalion chief who couldn’t sleep happened to go to the kitchen to get a midnight snack.
“He thought what he heard what he thought was cats fighting outside, kind of heard a screechy, kind of a scream or squeal,” said Battalion Chief Kurt Snyder.
That chief checked it out and found a baby in a storage bin just outside the door.
“If the baby wouldn’t have been found at midnight, it could have been 6 a.m. when it would have been found,” said Rocklin Police Capt. Lon Milka. “It would have been tragic consequences, or possibly tragic consequences.”
Fire stations and hospitals are typically legal places for parents to drop babies under California’s safe surrender law, but police say this baby was technically abandoned since it was simply left and not handed over to a person.
“The intent of the law as originally developed was to hand the baby off to fire department personnel or hospital personnel, but to personnel or to a person, so that we wouldn’t have that abandonment issue,” Milka said.
This baby boy was taken to the hospital and appears healthy.
The law gives parents 72 hours to surrender the baby to a designated site, where it must be given to an on-duty worker. The process is anonymous, but the person surrendering the baby will be asked to voluntarily fill out a medical history form. Parents then have 14 days to reclaim the baby if they change their mind.
The mother may face charges, but police admit she probably had good intentions.
It’s the first time a baby has been dropped off at the fire station.
“They’re certainly happy that it turned out as well as it did, and that they found this healthy baby,” Snyder said. “But they also understand that there’s a mother in pain.”