Hero dog dies but saves baby's life from fire that destroyed home

Published: Aug. 19, 2016 at 7:12 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2016 at 7:15 PM EDT
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Polo and Viviana (Source: Erika Poremski)
Polo and Viviana (Source: Erika Poremski)

(WAVE) - Thanks to the heroic efforts of her dog, a Maryland mother is grateful her baby is still alive following a house fire that destroyed all they have.

Erika Poremski is now left praying that her daughter, 8-month-old Viviana, can survive the burns she suffered on nearly 20 percent of her body.

Poremski told WAVE3.com that with severe weather headed her way in Baltimore on Sunday night, she went outside to charge her phone in her car. She had just put Viviana to bed, and when she turned back from the car, she said the house was on fire.

She said she hustled inside, but the smoke and flames were so intense that she was "choking, not breathing," so she came back out for air, and screamed for help.

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Neighbors tried to get in to the house by breaking windows but the fire was spreading.

"I started to hear Viviana crying," Poremski said.

Polo must have heard Viviana crying as well, because the dog went and sat on the baby to shield her from the flames.

"He knew what he was doing," Poremski said. "He could have easily pushed the screen door open. He did it all time, but instead he went to be with her."

Sadly, the dog didn't survive, but Viviana's burns were confined mainly to the sides of her body, thanks to the dog lying on top of her.

"She's my life, my whole world," Poremski said of her daughter.

The 29-year-old nursing student said her daughter is recovering but faces an uphill battle.

Poremski said an official cause of the fire hasn't been determined, but she suspects it was electrical after a lightning strike during the storm.

In just a few days, nearly 500 donors had donated almost $20,000 to a GoFundMe page set up for the family, as of Friday afternoon.

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