New Mexico fire house is installing $20,000 heat-controlled baby box with silent alarm

A city in New Mexico will install the state first ‘baby box,’ for mothers to safely and anonymously surrender their newborns, just days after an 18-year-old woman hurled her hours-old baby boy into a dumpster.   

The device, which costs $20,000 to install, could be set up in the firehouse of the city of Española as early as March, and would keep babies warm until first responders arrive after being notified by a silent alarm system. It was approved by the city’s board earlier this week. 

The announcement comes on the heels of Alexis Avila’s arrest on attempted murder and child abuse charges after she allegedly tossed her newborn into a dumpster in Hobbs, 300 miles southwest of Española.  

The baby was found six hours later by three dumpster divers who said he was ‘freezing cold,’ and was airlifted to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, where he remains stable, authorities said.  

Avila reportedly told authorities that she had only found out she was pregnant a day before delivering the baby, named Saul, inside her parents bathroom and ‘panicked.’ 

‘We are finally at the point where we’re going to install our first baby box in the Española Fire Station and we are thrilled about that,’ Mayor of Española, Javier Sanchez, told local news station KQRE. ‘We’re getting more awareness about what the reality is out there in the world.’

‘They’re temperature-regulated, they have alarm systems that go off and notify us when we’re not there,’ said John Wickersham, Assistant Fire Chief of the Española Fire Department. ‘We respond within three minutes.’  

The City of Española in New Mexico will install its first ‘baby box,’ just days after an 18-year-old woman hurled her baby into a dumpster 

The device, which costs $20,000 to install, could be set up in the firehouse of the city of Española as early as March, and would keep babies warm until first responders arrive after being notified by a silent alarm system

The device, which costs $20,000 to install, could be set up in the firehouse of the city of Española as early as March, and would keep babies warm until first responders arrive after being notified by a silent alarm system

Alexis Avila, 18, was been arrested and charged with attempted murder and child abuse for allegedly tossing her newborn child into a dumpster

Alexis Avila, 18, was been arrested and charged with attempted murder and child abuse for allegedly tossing her newborn child into a dumpster 

‘Our attorneys have finalized the last ticking points that we were concerned with,’ Sanchez added. ‘I think that we are now really on solid ground to have our city managers sign that in to get it going and we can start going from here.’

The device, manufactured by Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes, will cost an additional $200 to lease per year. 

In a statement to FOX News, a spokesperson said the company was ‘thrilled’ to partner with the state to make the baby boxes available.  

The statement read: ‘We are excited to partner with New Mexico to ensure that mothers in crisis have a 100[percent] safe and anonymous option to surrender their newborns…We are grateful that Española, New Mexico is leading the way in their state to bring an end to infant abandonment.’  

According to the company’s website, there are roughly 60 ‘baby boxes’ and ‘baby drawers’ across Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Arkansas, Florida and Arizona.  

The device, manufactured by Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes, will cost an additional $200 to lease per year

The device, manufactured by Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes, will cost an additional $200 to lease per year

The shocking footage from New Mexico shows Avila tossing her baby in to a dumpster in a trash bag

The shocking footage from New Mexico shows Avila tossing her baby in to a dumpster in a trash bag

More cities could soon join Española in installing ‘baby boxes’ at select locations to ensure that babies are safe when their mothers decide to surrender them. 

‘I called the mayor in Hobbs and he was telling me a little bit about the situation and what’s going on,’ Sanchez told KRQE. 

‘As we got to talking, we said, we need to put one of these in all of our cities. We decided we’ll bring this up at our next mayor’s conference so we can talk to all of the mayors who are interested and we can roll this out in more than just one location.’ 

Sanchez added that it was a pressing issue and just three years ago authorities found a dead baby in a trash bag at a home in Rio Arriba County, near Española.  

‘It happened here, we found a baby in the trash, and to hear it happened again is devastating,’ said fire chief Wickersham. ‘It broke our hearts.’  

Laws in many US states protect mothers who wish to surrender their babies from criminal penalties as long as they drop their babies at ‘safe havens’ such as fire and police stations or churches where there are adults who can alert authorities.  

'We are finally at the point where we're going to install our first baby box in the Española Fire Station and we are thrilled about that,' Mayor of Española (left) said. 'They're temperature-regulated, they have alarm systems that go off and notify us when we're not there,' added Assistant Fire Chief John Wickersham (right)

‘We are finally at the point where we’re going to install our first baby box in the Española Fire Station and we are thrilled about that,’ Mayor of Española (left) said. ‘They’re temperature-regulated, they have alarm systems that go off and notify us when we’re not there,’ added Assistant Fire Chief John Wickersham (right)

The device allows mothers to safely and anonymously surrender their newborns

It then notifies first responders

The device allows mothers to safely and anonymously surrender their newborns. It then notifies first responders

The device could potentially save the lives of newborns surrendered by their mothers

The device could potentially save the lives of newborns surrendered by their mothers 

Alexis Avila delivered her baby in the bathroom of her parents’ $104,000 Hobbs home last Friday.

She told cops that she had no idea she was pregnant and only realized something was amiss when she started getting abdominal pains.

After being charged with attempted murder and child abuse, and arrested, she is scheduled to appear in court in Lovington, New Mexico, on Wednesday.

After giving birth, Avila claims she panicked and, hours later, wrapped her infant son in a towel and drove him to the Broadmoor Shopping Mall in downtown Hobbs where she was captured on camera throwing him in a dumpster behind oil industry supply store Rig Outfitters.

The Hobbs High School student was then seen jumping back in her white Volkswagen Jetta and driving off.

The newborn, who has been named Saul by his 16-year-old father, was discovered five hours later by three dumpster divers who initially thought the noise they heard was that of a cat mewing.  

The next say, she delivered her son in her parents' bathroom

After giving birth, Avila said she ‘panicked.’ She wrapped her son in a towel, placed him in a white plastic bag containing some trash, and a larger black trash bag, and drove around, before throwing the child in the dumpster at the Broadmoor Shopping Center at around 2pm. The baby was found six hours later.  

'People can talk and give their opinion. Everybody makes mistakes,' Avila's mother said. The dumpsters where she dumped her son are pictured

‘People can talk and give their opinion. Everybody makes mistakes,’ Avila’s mother said. The dumpsters where she dumped her son are pictured 

One the rescuers, April Meadow, wrapped the baby in her coat – telling a 911 dispatch operator that the baby was ‘freezing cold.’

After the baby was found, he was taken to a hospital in Hobbs and then transferred to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, which has a more advanced NICU unit.

When doctors assessed the baby, they found that his body temperate was so low that it did not register, indicating hypothermia. The newborn was also given a blood transfusion, and put on a feeding tube and oxygen.

Police said the baby was in a stable condition at the hospital on Monday.   

Baby Saul is currently recovering at a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, and is being cared for by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. 

Avila’s mother Martha, 47, broke her silence on Tuesday to defend her daughter and told DailyMail.com that the birth came as ‘a shock.’

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, she said: ‘People can talk and give their opinion. Everybody makes mistakes. People can preach all they want, they can judge all they want but we only care about the judgment of one.’

She added: ‘Yeah it has been a shock.’

Martha told DailyMail.com that she wasn’t sure if the family would be handed custody of baby Saul – although that is likely to be contested by the family of the baby’s father.  

Avila's mother Martha, 47, has broken her silence to defend her daughter and told DailyMail.com that the birth came as 'a shock'

Avila’s mother Martha, 47, has broken her silence to defend her daughter and told DailyMail.com that the birth came as ‘a shock’

Footage from the same camera caught the moment a heroic woman rescued the child from the dumpster

Footage from the same camera caught the moment a heroic woman rescued the child from the dumpster

Oscar Astorga, 50, said his son Stephen, 16, had no idea Avila, his ex-girlfriend, was pregnant until she gave birth last week and was then caught on camera callously chucking their child into a dumpster.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com on Wednesday, Astorga has revealed that the family wants custody of the child.

‘Of course we’re trying to get custody,’ Astorga told DailyMail.com. ‘Of course.

‘He is my grandson. That’s why we can’t comment on anything because we’re trying to get my grandson.’

He added that his family has received death threats since the video went viral.  

Astorga, who runs a company servicing the local oil and gas industry, told DailyMail.com that the news of the baby had come as a huge shock – and told how his family have received death threats on social media.

Telling of the moment he discovered he had become a grandfather, Astorga said: ‘When you don’t know and then all of a sudden someone calls you? It’s like wow.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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