Fishers celebrates new fire station, baby box


The City of Fishers has its first baby box. It’s an anonymous way for a new parent — who for whatever reason can’t keep their newborn — to give the infant to those who can care for the child. 

The box is part of the Fishers Fire Department’s newly opened Station 397 at 15109 E. 136th St., which celebrated a ribbon-cutting and a blessing of the baby box May 31. 

Fishers Fire Department Public Information Officer John Mehling said the baby box was made possible through a partnership with Safe Haven Baby Boxes, an Indiana-based nonprofit founded by Monica Kelsey, who herself was abandoned as an infant. 

“And that inspired her down the road to create these baby boxes,” Mehling said. “Sometimes, these kids are left in places where (the parents) hope they’ll be discovered, but they’re not. Some of them are placed into dumpsters. Some are left out in the woods. And this just provides that opportunity to remain anonymous, but to pass that baby on into arms that will take care of the baby.”

Mehling said once a baby is placed inside the box, there’s a short delay and then an alarm goes off in the station, at the city’s dispatch center and directly to the phones of several first responders. 

“Within minutes, someone will be at that baby’s side and providing whatever medical care is needed,” he said.

Also in the box is a packet of information for the parent to take, he said, because often the mother needs help, too. 

Mehling added that in Indiana, any new parent can surrender an infant up to 30 days old, no questions asked, to a firefighter or police officer. But the baby box provides a way to do that with complete anonymity. 

He said Carmel has a baby box, as well, and has had several babies safely surrendered through that service. 

“There are over 100 boxes in Indiana,” he said. “Indiana is leading the nation with this option.”


Fire Station 397 has been in service since Feb. 14, Mehling said, but the department decided to hold off on the ribbon cutting because many of the northeastern Fishers residents whose homes are served by the station travel out of state during the winter months.  

Mehling said it was a great turnout, and everyone who showed up was able to tour the station, see the fire truck and get some swag. They did have to move all the festivities indoors because of a rainstorm, but despite that it went well. 

“It was just a great showing by not only the community that lives out there, but our government partners that make all this happen,” he said, noting that Mayor Scott Fadness, Council Member Brad DeReamer and other local officials attended the event. 

Mehling said the city has kept a close eye on neighborhood data ever since the Del Webb development went in, and the population numbers eventually got to the point where they justified building a new fire station to provide better and faster service. DeReamer, who is the council member representing that district, was a regular advocate for the new station, Mehling said, along with the residents themselves. 

“It’s not an inexpensive resource,” he said. “You have to take care of the whole city. And everything is important, but you still have to make decisions about what you can do because, contrary to popular belief, there are no money trees in Fishers.”

It did eventually make sense to build a new station, though. The new $7 million station is staffed by nine firefighters, with at least five on duty at any one time. The city also purchased a new $600,000 fire engine, with about $130,000 worth of equipment for the truck. 

Mehling said the new station is Fishers’ seventh. When he first started working as a volunteer with the department in 1990, he said, there was only one.