By Katie Reilly
August 20, 2016

A family dog has died after shielding an 8-month-old baby from a house fire that broke out in Baltimore on Sunday.

Erika Poremski said she had stepped outside to her car when she turned around to find the house in flames, according to CBS News. Her eight-month-old daughter Viviana was still inside with the dog, Polo.

“I tried to keep getting in,” Poremski said in an interview with CBS News. “She was up the stairs, but the fire smoke was so heavy I couldn’t get past it.” She suffered burns to her hands and face.

“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,” she added.

Viv and Polo
Erika Poremski

Poremski said that when firefighters arrived, they found Polo covering Viviana with his body. She said the baby only suffered burns on her arm and side because of the dog’s protection. The family created a GoFundMe page to help with medical costs for Viviana, who is still in serious condition, CBS News reported. By Saturday morning, it had raised more than $27,000.

“He was my first baby before Viv. He was like my child,” Poremski said of Polo, according to CBS News. “He followed us everywhere.”

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