One mom looked on in horror as flames engulfed her home with her baby still trapped within. At first, it looked as if the infant might not survive the inferno, but then an unlikely hero made the ultimate sacrifice.
The Poremski family live in Baltimore, Maryland. They consist of mom Erika and her baby, Viviana. Then there was their beloved dog, Polo, who was six years old and extremely loyal to his family.
And Polo’s dedication to her family was never more evident than in August 2016. One night that month, Poremski had popped out to grab something from her car. But when she went to return to her house, she found the property engulfed in flames.
It was a sight from every mother’s worst nightmare. Because, while Poremski was safely on the outside, her eight-month-old daughter and Polo were trapped inside. And to makes matters worse, Poremski was helpless to rescue them.
“I tried to keep getting in,” Poremski told CBS News in 2015. “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.”
Harrowingly, as the blaze engulfed the house, the worried mother could hear Viviana screaming. “I just heard her crying and I couldn’t get to her,” Poremski told WBAL TV in 2016. “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.”
Yet although the odds were stacked against her, Poremski refused to give up. In fact, the desperate mother suffered burns to her face and hands attempting to break back into her home. And, what’s more, she was in such a panic that she didn’t even realize the extent of her injuries at the time.
Yes, Poremski revealed to CBS News that because she was so determined to rescue her baby and dog, she didn’t see that “all the skin was off [her] hand from grabbing the rail and it melted off.” Luckily, however, help was on its way.
Amid all the chaos, though, the fact that Polo had not fled the blaze puzzled Poremski. She was sure that the animal could have run downstairs and out the door, but something appeared to be keeping him inside.
And when Baltimore City Fire crews finally arrived on the scene, they learned that Viviana and Polo were on the second floor of Poremski’s home. As a result, they were quickly able to gain entry and locate the baby and dog.
When firefighters found them, though, they couldn’t believe their eyes. You seee, the crew found Polo lying over little Viviana’s body, protecting her from the flames. And in doing so, the heroic pooch had saved the infant’s life.
“She only had burns on her side because of it,” Poremski revealed in her interview with WBAL TV. “He stayed with her the whole time in the bedroom and wouldn’t even come downstairs to get out the door,” she added.
When firefighters brought Viviana out, she was unconscious. However, emergency crews were able to revive her, and paramedics later took her to a nearby children’s hospital. There, doctors treated her for bad burns affecting her side, face and arms.
Viviana’s condition would no doubt have been significantly worse were it not for Polo, though. And thanks to his selfless act, the baby girl would likely make a good recovery. Sadly, however, the same cannot be said for the dog himself.
Tragically, Polo died in the fire. Yes, unfortunately, the heroic hound lost his life making the ultimate sacrifice for his human companion. And, although that softened the blow, the tragic news still left Poremski utterly devastated.
“He was my first baby and now I lost him,” she explained to WBAL. “And I’m just praying I don’t lose her. She’s all I have and it just happened so fast, I just don’t understand it. I just don’t know why this stuff happens.”
In hindsight, Poremski believes Polo could sense something bad was about to happen. “That day of the fire, he was acting weird all day,” she told CBS News. “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.”
Despite her obvious sadness, though, Poremski was not able to fully mourn just yet. Her daughter was still in a very serious condition in hospital. “She’s doing the best she can right now,” the mom told WBAL. “And she’s fighting and that’s it. She’s a really good girl… I just hope she’s okay.”
That wasn’t Poremski’s only worry, however. The fire had partially destroyed her home
, and her daughter’s medical bills were piling up. As a result, then, friends set up a crowdfunding campaign, aiming to raise $75,000 for the family.
To date, just over $46,000 has been contributed. And thanks to the help from her friends and family, Poremski could start rebuilding her life. Nothing would bring back her beloved pooch, though. And Poremski later admitted to CBS that, along with her daughter, “[Polo] was everything to [her].”