A sudden house fire claimed the life of a cherished dog named Polo. Erika Poremski has been devastated by his tragic death, but is eternally grateful that he saved her eight-month-old baby, Viviana, by shielding her body from the flames.
Erika had just stepped out to her car for a moment, and when she turned around her Baltimore home had erupted in flames. She tried to get in to save her daughter and dog, but the passage had quickly become engulfed in heavy smoke and flames.
“I tried to keep getting in,” she told CBS News. “She was up the stairs, but the fire smoke was so heavy I couldn’t get past it… 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.”
Erika suffered burns on her face and hands in her effort to save her babies, and at the time hadn’t even realized that her skin had melted off from grabbing the blazing hot railing.
There was nothing she could do but wait for firefighters, who were still on their way. The distressed mother could hear Viviana crying, and believes that Polo could have made his way downstairs, but chose to protect the baby with all his might.
“He was my first baby before Viv. He was like my child,” she said. “He followed us everywhere.”
When firefighters finally did arrive, they found Polo covering Viv. Paramedics were able to revive her, but they could not save this heroic dog. Though nearly 20 percent of the baby’s body was burned, it is because of her brave guardian that she did not suffer more.
Strangely, Erika believes that Polo sensed something bad was going to happen to them.
“That day of the fire, he was acting weird all day. I even told a friend I was going to take him to vet. He was crying and following me around and had a seizure from anxiety.”
She is heartbroken that she could not save him.
“He was everything to me, along with my daughter. I’m losing everything I love in the blink of an eye. I feel like I’m drowning and can’t get out.”
Erika has lost her dog, her home, and her baby is still in very serious condition, with no guarantee she will make it. A fundraiser has been set up to help her establish a new home and to get the best treatment possible for Viv.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.