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Tearful mother explains how her kids nearly died in apartment fire

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Trenice Smith speaks to CBS12 about the dramatic rescue of her children from a fire at the Stonybrook Apartment Complex in Riviera Beach. (WPEC)

A Riviera Beach father is in jail, accused of setting an apartment on fire while his kids were inside.

New cell phone video from a CBS12 viewer captured the moment Good Samaritans rescued two of three children trapped inside.

You can hear the mother yelling for help.

Trenice Smith fought back tears while telling how her kids nearly died.

“The people at the end right here had chairs sticks everything. They were kicking my window all in,” Smith said.

She said the fire stems from a heated an argument with 22-year-old Velmando Williams. She said Williams is the father of her three and one-year-old boys.

“I ran out the house and I heard my door lock and he said, 'I'll set this house on fire,'" Smith said.

While Smith was on the phone with police, she saw heavy smoke coming from her unit.

In the cell phone video you can see a group of men doing everything possible to break a window.

“My cousin kicked the window in and unlocked the door,” Smith said.

The men rescued the two boys, but her one-month-old baby girl was still trapped inside.

A Rivera Beach firefighter found the newborn underneath a door shortly after.

“Once he touched the child, the child began to cry and they performed a rescue from there," said Dawayne Watson, Riviera Beach Fire Public Information Officer.

Smith said her baby has a few burn marks but she’s breathing just fine.

She told us Saturday her family is still together thanks to the Good Samaritans who risked their lives.

“I just want to thank everybody for saving my kids,” Smith said.

Williams is charged with attempted murder, arson, false imprisonment and battery.

Records show he was released from prison less than a month ago.

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