The home of Erika Poremski caught on fire around 10:45pm on Gough Street in Baltimore. Erika had run out to grab something from the car and when she turned around, she saw the fire. Poremski’s 8-month-old daughter Viviana, and their pet dog Polo were both trapped in the house as it went up in flames. Erika suffered burns on her hands and face as she tried to fight the heat to get to her child.
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Neighbors were alerted by the shattering of a glass window and screams as Erika rushed to try and save her little girl. They made attempts to get to the baby but with no success. “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,”neighbor Martha Herman told ABC 2 News. “I just went to hold her, to comfort her.”
“I just heard her crying and I couldn’t get to her,” Poremski said. “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,” she added.
It was a parent’s worst nightmare.
6800 Gough St: 6 month old in serious condition after overnight fire.1 family displaced.Cause under investigation. pic.twitter.com/IrfLpqrNaJ
– Baltimore Fire (@BaltimoreFire) August 15, 2016
When firefighters arrived, they smashed the second story window of the home in an attempt to get Viviana to safety.
What they found was nothing short of amazing. The family dog Polo, had sacrificed himself and laid across Viviana to protect her from the flames. While the baby was alive, sadly, Polo didn’t survive. The fire crew was able to successfully rescue Viviana, who suffered burns on 30 percent of her body. But without the heroic act of the family’s dog the burns could have been life ending.
“She only had burns on her side because of it,” Poremski said. “He stayed with her the whole time in the bedroom and wouldn’t even come downstairs to get out the door.”
Viviana is in recovery at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Johns Hopkins. “She’s doing the best she can right now,” Poremski said. “And she’s fighting and that’s it. She’s a really good girl I just hope she’s OK.”
You can help the Poremski family through a GoFundMe page which has been set up for them here.
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