Woman trying to burn away negative energy arrested in Sandy fire investigation, police say

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SANDY — A woman accused of setting a fire that left several units of a Sandy apartment complex uninhabitable over the weekend has been arrested.

Crystal Nicole Moss, 37, told police she was trying "to burn away the negative energy, sadness and pain in her life" when she started a fire early Sunday at the Liberty Heights Apartments complex, 8176 S. 1300 East, according to a police booking affidavit.

Moss was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of arson.

The fire started about 3 a.m. A Sandy police officer who was in the area saw smoke coming from one of the balconies. She and a second officer, who arrived a short time later, began knocking on doors and getting people out as fire crews arrived. Sandy police say the first officer on scene has been with the department for only about three years while the second officer is a 20-year veteran.

The two officers were able to get everyone out of the apartment safely. Sandy Police Sgt. Greg Moffit said "their actions were paramount" to saving lives.

No serious injuries were reported, although both officers who were first on the scene and helped evacuate the building were taken to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. The officers have since been released from the hospital.

Sandy Mayor Monica Zoltanski tweeted Sunday that the fire left six units uninhabitable.

As the fire was being investigated, Moss approached police and claimed she had started it, the affidavit alleges.

When questioned by police and fire crews, she claimed she "intentionally used a Bic lighter to ignite a tree of life, which was placed inside a cauldron near her bedroom closet. According to Crystal, it was difficult to ignite the tree of life, so she poured a bottle of alcohol on it to speed up the process. Crystal said the intent was to burn away the negative energy, sadness and pain in her life. According to Crystal, she wanted to burn the universe, but didn't want to hurt anyone," according to the affidavit.

Police said Moss claimed she did not attempt to warn any of her neighbors but did bang on the garage door of the nearby fire department.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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