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Three children rescued from Riviera Beach apartment fire following couple's dispute, man arrested

Posted at 7:19 PM, Aug 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 08:00:24-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. -- Riviera Beach Police have charged a man with setting a fire in an apartment complex on Friday.

Police received an emergency call reporting a domestic dispute at Stonybrook Apartments located at 1555 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard at approximately 5:43 p.m.

Additional callers reported there was a structure fire at the same location.

Responding officers, firefighters from Riviera Beach Fire Rescue, and concerned people at the scene were able to safely rescue three children, including an infant, a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, from the burning apartment.

Police say the infant was being evaluated and the other two children were medically cleared.

"I'm trying to get over it, but I can't," said mother Tranice Smith.

Police say based upon statements from the mother of the three children and other witnesses at the scene, Velmando J. Williams (22) was located near the apartment complex and held for questioning.

A State of Florida Fire Marshal confirmed that the fire was an intentional act of arson, and not an accident.

"I have no words for him. None," said Smith.

According to police, the children's mother said that the father of her children, Velmando Williams, set the apartment on fire during an argument between the two of them.

Williams was charged with Attempted Murder, Simple Battery Domestic, and First Degree Arson.

He was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail.

Families displaced by the fire will be placed at the Lindsey Davis Community Center for the weekend.

The investigation continues and anyone with more information is urged to contact Riviera Beach Police at 561-845-4123 or Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS.