A Florida judge denied bond for 22-year-old Velmando Williams, who is being accused of locking three children in a bedroom before setting fire to their apartment after an argument with their mother, according to the Palm Beach Post.
Last week, a Stonybrook Apartment fire nearly took the lives of three children. It was reported that Tranice Smith, 19, and Williams, who is the father two of her children, was in a heated argument. Smith stated that she was cut in the back of the head and held down by her shirt.
When she was able to break free, she said she ran out of the apartment and told Williams that she was going to call the police. That’s when Williams told her that he was going to set the apartment on fire before slamming and locking the door.
Williams allegedly locked the three children in a bedroom inside the Stonybrook Apartment before setting fire to the couches in the living room by using cooking oil. Afterward, he jumped from an open window and fled the scene, according to police.
Smith stated that she began seeing smoke emitting from her apartment unit while she was on the phone with 911 dispatch. She tried desperately to rescue her children, attempting to breaking the windows to no avail.
It was the help of several Good Samaritans who came to Smith’s rescue, stopping at nothing to get her children to safety. Within minutes, they were able to save two of Smith’s older children—age one and three—from the Riviera Beach fire after using bricks, chairs, and their own feet and elbows to break the windows.
The Good Samaritans were unable to locate the woman’s one-month-old baby girl as they were having difficulties reaching the back door.
In a Facebook video of the Stonybrook Apartment fire, it depicts black smoke coming from the apartment but as the time ensues, fire becomes visible and prevents the Good Samaritans from entering the unit.
The mother can be heard screaming and crying while saying, “Let me go get her.”
When the Riviera Beach Fire Department arrived at the scene, they were able to tame the fire. Authorities say they uncovered the newborn baby inside the Stonybrook Apartment unit, underneath a door that ultimately saved her life as it shielded the baby from the flames, police say.
Smith’s two oldest children were taken to an area hospital and were later released in the care of social services. They will soon be in the care of their grandmother.
The newborn baby remains in the pediatric intensive care. She is being treated for second-degree burns to her abdomen and smoke inhalation.
The Riviera Beach man was later arrested and charged with arson, attempted homicide, and kidnapping.
Williams is being held at the Palm Beach County jail without a bond.
[Featured Image by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office]