Firefighter reunites with Safe Haven baby left at station in 2006

New fire truck named after girl

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – A child dropped off as an infant at a Lake County fire station was honored in a special ceremony Friday and reunited with the firefighter who took her in.

On July 1, 2006, a woman parked her car at Clermont Fire Station 112 and handed Batllion Chief Dan Miller a 1-day-old baby named Iris.

Following Florida's Safe Haven laws, the baby was taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation and two weeks later was adopted by a new family who renamed her Colleen.

"She's a blessing and we love her dearly. I can't imagine life without her," Colleen's adopted mother, Lara Katich, said.

Both Miller and now 10-year-old Colleen were visibly anxious before meeting for the second time.

"Well, I was definitely nervous, but proud at the same time," Miller said.

Lake County Fire Rescue has honored Colleen by naming a new fire truck after her.

"Makes everybody at the fire station proud. She's a part of our family," Miller said.

The new fire truck was put into service this week and has already been busy working a number of calls, firefighters said.

Colleen's family said after Friday's reunion, they plan on staying in close touch with the fire station, especially following the special dedication.

"We'll be honored when we see the truck driving down (Highway) 27 and saving other people's homes and lives," Katich said.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.