A 6-year-old dog died while trying to protect an 8-month-old baby from a tragic house fire. If not for the heroic dog’s ultimate sacrifice, the infant would not have survived.
On Aug. 14, 2016, Erika Poremski, from Maryland, Baltimore, had stepped outside the house toward her car so as to charge her cellphone. She returned a few minutes later, only to find her house engulfed in flames, with her 8-month-old daughter, Viviana, and pet dog, Polo, stuck inside a bedroom up the stairs.
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The fast-moving fire broke out at Poremski’s home on the 6800 block of Gough Street at around 10:45 p.m. due to a burning candle lit by her following a power outage. The raging fire blew out a glass window of the two-story rowhome and woke the neighbors up.
“Erika was just screaming ‘my baby, my baby!’ and running up and down the street, and I went over to her right away and she was just, actually kneeling, and praying and screaming,” Martha Herman, an onlooker, told ABC2 News. “I just went to hold her, to comfort her.”
Poremski tried frantically to get into the house to rescue Viviana, but the fire smoke was too heavy for her to go upstairs, where her daughter was sleeping.
“I just heard her crying and i couldn’t get to her,” Poremski told WBAL-TV. “I tried really hard, everyone in the neighborhood tried. They were kicking the doors in and kicking the windows out. I couldn’t (get her out). Nobody could.”
Speaking to CBS News, the mom recalled: “I kept running back out and back in, trying to get up there. Then, the door curling started falling and I couldn’t get back in.”
Poremski suffered burns on her hands and face in the moment of chaos. She said she didn’t notice that “all the skin was off my hand from grabbing the rail and it melted off.”
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When the Baltimore City Fire Department arrived on the scene, they succeeded in rescuing the baby from the burning house by smashing the second-story window and climbing into the room using a ladder.
What the firefighters found inside the room was nothing short of incredible. They saw Poremski’s dog, Polo, sprawling across little Viviana’s body. Apparently, the black curly haired dog had spread his furry body across Viviana to shield the baby from the flames.
Because of Polo’s protection, the infant “only had burns on her side because of it.”
“He stayed with her the whole time in the bedroom and wouldn’t even come downstairs to get out the door,” Poremski said.
‘Hero’ dog dies saving baby girl from house fire https://t.co/Bp2Ju2huft
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) August 19, 2016
Paramedics were able to revive the baby girl, who suffered serious burns to her face, arm, and side. Unfortunately, Polo died trying to protect Viviana.
“He was everything to me along with my daughter,” said Poremski of Polo.
Poremski believes Polo had a sense of the danger on that day of the fire as “he was acting weird all day.”
“He was crying and following me around and had a seizure from anxiety,” Poremski recalled.
A GoFundMe campaign was set up in 2016 with a goal of US$75,000 to help the family. The story of the beloved canine’s ultimate sacrifice to save the infant has touched the hearts of many people all across the nation, who have reached out to the family, offering support.
“Everybody keep praying and keep Vivi in their prayer so she can recover from her injuries and come back to us,” Viviana’s grandfather, Joe Poremski, told WBAL-TV.
Sadly, though Viviana survived, the brutal house fire left her suffering from severe anoxic brain injury due to a loss of oxygen to her brain. To get updates on her life, please follow Viviana’s Crusade on Facebook.
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