A newborn baby was found dead inside a bag outside a Chicago fire station early Saturday morning, authorities said. Firefighters say there was no attempt to contact anyone inside the station.
Newborn baby found dead in a bag in front of a fire station
The grim discovery was made around 5 a.m. Saturday outside a station in the 1000 block of North Orleans Street, the Chicago Police Department told PEOPLE in a statement.
The body was found when fire crews went out that morning for snow removal, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The newspaper also reported that the duffel bag was found covered in snow.
Firefighters say there was no attempt to contact anyone inside the station, an action that could have saved the newborn’s life, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Following the discovery, the Chicago Fire Department issued a social media reminder about the Illinois Safe Haven Act, which makes it possible for newborns to stay with workers in designated safe locations “without question or judgment.”
“There is no risk of the person being identified or questioned. You can knock on the door, ring the doorbell, get our attention, we’ll receive the child, thank you and it’s in already,” the Chicago Fire Department said. spokesman Larry Langford told the newspaper.
However, Langford emphasized that for the system to work, it is imperative that parents “have contact with someone.”
“Under no circumstances do we want people to leave children outside. And because of the way the Safe Haven Act is written, you can hand the child directly to a staff member or the Fire Department,” Langford added.
Passed in 2001, the law “provides a safe, legal option to unsafe child abandonment,” according to the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, which spent more than a decade advocating for the legislation. Under the law, unharmed newborns up to 30 days old can be released to workers at designated locations.
However, the parents of the deceased newborn will now potentially face arrest and charges, officials told the Tribune.