Riviera Beach News: Three children were rescued from a smoke-filled apartment on August 11.
Riviera Beach Police were called to an apartment complex in the 1500 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard for a domestic dispute. When they arrived, Fire Rescue advised that the building was on fire.
With the help of concerned residents at the scene, Riviera Beach Fire Rescue crews and police were able to safely rescue three children, including a one-month-old infant, a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, from the apartment.
The children’s mother told police that she and Velmando J. Williams had gotten into an argument. That’s when, according to the mother, Williams, 22, set the apartment on fire. Reports claim that Williams is the father of at least two of the children who were trapped inside the burning building.
During the blaze, Williams was seen walking around the area and was questioned. But it was not until the mother’s statement that a further investigation led to his apprehension.
He was arrested and charged with Attempted Murder, Simple Battery Domestic, False Imprisonment, and First Degree Arson. Williams has been booked into the Palm Beach County Jail.
According to records, the first emergency call came in regarding the domestic dispute. It was not until a second phone call when the reports of fire were made known.
The apartment building is said to have sustained considerable damage and has caused some residents to be removed from their homes. Fire officials said 64 people have been displaced due to the blaze. The Red Cross is aiding with those individuals.
A State of Florida Fire Marshal verified that the fire was an intentional act of arson, and not accidental.
The two older children were treated at the scene, but the one-month-old infant was taken to an area hospital for treatment. There is no substantiated report on the baby’s current condition, but the new-born was expected to recover.
This Riviera Beach news investigation is ongoing. Officials are asking that anyone with information to contact Police at (561) 845-4123 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS.