Paramedics believe the infant was just one or two hours old when two women walking near the 1700-block of North Keystone heard its screams. They found him in a canvas shopping bag, fire officials said, and took the baby to a nearby firehouse on Pulaski.
Fire officials said the newborn was cold and unresponsive, with no pulse and not breathing when they received him. They used heating pads and warming blankets immediately, and took him to Norwegian American Hospital in an ambulance with a Chicago police escort, officials said.
Firefighters performed CPR on the infant in the ambulance and helped him breathe with a ventilator, and by the time they arrived at the hospital the infant had some color to him again and was beginning, just barely, to respond.
"We just kept working, CPR, kept ventilating him with the mask and the bag, and his color stayed good," said paramedic Melanie Howe. "By the time we got him to the hospital we had almost indiscernible movements and response. But it was enough to know he had a chance."
The newborn's condition was stabilized at Norwegian, and he was crying and kicking. He was transferred to Lurie Children's Hospital for further treatment.
Fire officials and paramedics expressed sympathy to the mother, and begged others like her to call on them even in hard circumstances instead of resorting to actions like these.
WATCH: "Come to us."
"But come to us, man. If she had called 911 we could have taken the baby to one hospital and her to another," said Paramedic Field Chief Patrick Fitzmaurice. "We don't judge. Take him to a firehouse. Leave the baby there. Give the kid a chance."
Illinois is a state with a Safe Haven law, meaning anyone can hand over a baby 30 days old or younger that is unharmed to staff at a hospital, police station or fire department with no questions asked.
Chicago Police Area North detectives are investigating.