LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles firefighters received an unusual Christmas delivery at a downtown station this year — a baby.
With a small bundle in her arms, a woman went to a station near the city’s Exposition Park on Friday afternoon, telling firefighters she wanted to give the child up for adoption, fire spokesman Erik Scott said in a statement Saturday.
The woman, 27, said her daughter was born six hours earlier, Scott said.
"She was still a little red, so she was fairly new. Well-nourished, well-cared for," fire Capt. Scott Hilton said. "She was awake. She was crying a little bit and moving around."
Clean and wrapped in a blanket, the girl was carried inside the station by firefighters, who nicknamed her Noel, in honor of Christmas. The mother said she had recently fed the child.
A nearly decade-old Safe Haven Law in California allows parents to give up babies up to three days old at fire stations, hospitals and other locations without fear of prosecution if there are no signs of abuse.
Hilton said delivery of a child to firefighters is a rare occurrence and it is far better than the alternative that some frantic mothers have taken of simply abandoning a child.
"The praise goes to the mother for making the right decision," Hilton said. "Compared to the alternative, it’s a great ending."
The woman was cooperative as firefighters went through procedures for taking the baby, Hilton said. She didn’t provide a reason for wanting to give up the child but did say she had three other children, he added. She hadn’t named the child.
Firefighters gave the mother paperwork to mail in to provide the child’s medical history. They also provided a numbered ankle bracelet for the baby and another identifying bracelet to the mother, who by law has 14 days to reclaim her daughter, Hilton said.
The newborn was taken to a hospital where she remained early Christmas Day.
"Our last report was that the infant was very healthy," Scott said.
When she is released, the newborn will be placed with Los Angeles County child welfare officials. She could be put in foster care and made available for adoption.
She was the sixth child surrendered in the county in 2010 and the 82nd since the Safely Surrendered Baby Law was passed nine years ago, according to county statistics.