(INSIDE EDITION) An 8-month-old baby is in intensive care after the family dog shielded her from a devastating house fire in Baltimore, a heroic effort that cost the poor pooch his life.
Little Viviana Poremski suffered serious burns to her face, leg and arm when flames erupted as she slept in her mother's row house. Firefighters found her covered by Polo, a black curly haired dog that had spread his furry body across the baby.
Polo did not survive.
"He stayed with her the whole time in the bedroom and wouldn't even come downstairs to get out the door," Viviana's mother, Erika, told WBAL-TV.
The panicked mother suffered burns to her hands when she tried to fight her way inside the burning home late Sunday night. "I just heard her crying and I couldn't get to her," the distraught mom told the station.
Poremski had lit a candle following a power outage, and had walked outside to her car so she could charge her cell phone, she said.
Within minutes, flames erupted. Fire officials are trying to determine what caused the blaze, which quickly engulfed the two-story home.
When firefighters arrived, Poremski was screaming "My baby, my baby!" said neighbor Martha Herman, according to WMAR-TV. The panicked mother was "was running up and down the street and I went over to her right away and she was just, actually, kneeling and praying and screaming," Herman said.
It took about 30 minutes to extinguish the flames, authorities said. Poremski and her daughter lost everything in the blaze.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Poremski put her life, and her daughter's life, back together.