Heroic dog dies protecting girl from fire

Viviana and Polo (WBALTV)
Viviana and Polo (WBALTV)

A family dog in Baltimore who died in a damaging house fire is being credited for saving the life of a young girl.

The 8-month-old girl Viviana is now in critical condition after the fire around 10:45pm on Sunday (local time), WBALTV reports.

Fire crews found the two-storey unit with flames and thick smoke coming from both floors, Baltimore City Fire Department spokesman Samuel Johnson said.

They managed to get inside the home through connecting units where they rescued the girl who was later taken to hospital.

When they entered the room, they saw the family's dog Polo covering her with his body.

The girl's mother, Erika Poremski, had gone out to her car when the fire started and turned around to see the house in flames.

"I just heard her crying and I couldn't get to her," Mr Poremski said.

"I tried really hard, everyone in the neighbourhood tried. They were kicking the doors in and kicking the windows out. I couldn't [get her out]. Nobody could."

She tried to get back inside the house a number of times, and suffered burns to her hands and face as a result.

Ms Poremski says if it hadn't been for Polo, Viviana's injuries may have been much worse.

"She only had burns on her side because of it," Ms Poremski said.

"[Polo] stayed with her the whole time in the bedroom and wouldn't even come downstairs to get out the door."

Unfortunately, Polo died from his injuries.

Ms Poremski says her daughter is still in a serious condition, but "she's going the best she can right now".

The cause of the fire is being investigated.