Local News

Infant Killed In Zebulon Blaze

Posted January 15, 2006 6:36 a.m. EST

— With no smoke detectors and no warning, a house fire in Zebulon killed a 4-month-old girl. Now investigators are trying to pinpoint what started it.

"I got up and I looked out the window and there were flames just bellowing out and I saw a man drop to his knees and he hollered [for] his baby," said neighbor Kay Sarotte , who called 911.

She said Jacob Wertz frantically tried to get back inside to his daughter, Alana Wertz. Investigators said the infant's mother, Maria Salgado, was at work when the home on "> Pleasant Hill Drive

caught on fire.

"The father woke up and smelled smoke and felt heat and tried to get into the back where the child was and was unable to do so," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

When firefighters got the flames out, they found the infant's body inside.

The young couple and baby moved into the mobile home about four months ago. The fire chief said the home did not have smoke detectors.

Investigators called in Progress Energy crews to help search for a cause as friends and neighbors tried to take it all in.

"It's just so tragic to lose such a young life like that," said Sarotte.

In addition to the loss of their daughter, the family has also lost all their possessions. Anyone wanting to help the family can call family member Dennis Venable at

(919) 202-9892