Baby dies in fire that flared near crib

From Staff ReportsJanuary 15, 2006 

A 5-month-old girl died Saturday morning after her home burst into flames.

Zebulon Fire Chief Sidney Perry said investigators think the fire started about 9:30 a.m. near a portable electric heater close to Alana Wertz's crib in the front room of her parents' rented mobile home on Pleasant Hill Drive.

Her father, Jacob Wertz, tried to save her after he woke up in another room and saw smoke, according to Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison. But Wertz could not get past the flames that blazed between him and Alana.

The girl's mother, Maria Salgado, had left the home earlier in the day for work, Harrison said.

The blaze gutted the inside of the home. The heat melted the walls in half the home, leaving little more than a fragile frame.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office said Wertz and Salgado lost most of their belongings. Those who want to help the couple can call Dennis Venable at 202-9892, the sheriff's office said in a release.

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