Body camera footage shows Sandy police officers quick response to apartment fire

Mar 6, 2023, 6:35 PM | Updated: 6:49 pm

SANDY, Utah — New body cam video shows two Sandy police officers knocking on doors and getting people out of their apartments during a fast-moving fire at a Sandy apartment complex.

The Liberty Heights Apartment complex on 1300 East 8176 S. went up in flames just before 3 a.m. on Sunday. A Sandy police officer was on night patrol when she saw smoke and raced to the scene. Another officer arrived shortly after.

“Police department! You have a fire! Everybody, get out!” the officers yelled in the body cam video provided to KSLTV under a public records request. “Get out! Get Out! Get Out! There is a fire! Go, go, go!”

In the video, you can see a family rushing to leave their apartment. You can also see the orange glow behind the officers and the stairway beginning to fill with smoke.

“Their actions were paramount. They were able to get an entire family evacuated from the apartment before [the fire department] got on the scene,” said Sgt. Greg Moffitt with Sandy PD. “That adrenaline kicks in, and the preservation of life is paramount. They just go. They get to work.”

The Sandy fire department, located just next door, arrived within three minutes after the call. By then, everyone was out safely. Twelve units in the Liberty Heights apartment complex were destroyed.

“It was kind of insane,” said resident Britta Gerritsen as she watched the chaotic scene unfold. “I do believe if people had not been woken up, there would have been casualties. I definitely feel like the officers were heroes in this situation.”

Police later arrested Crystal Nicole Moss, 37, who police say started the fire on purpose by pouring alcohol over a tree to “burn away the negative energy, sadness, and pain in her life.” For those reasons, they are pushing to upgrade the charges to felony arson.

“Because that fire was set intentionally and that was a building that was occupied by people, that would increase it to an aggravated arson rather than just an arson talking about the dollar value,” Moffitt said.

Melissa, whose apartment was filled with smoke, said this fire could have easily turned deadly.

“I think [Moss] needs some help. She was probably going through some stuff and didn’t have people to help her out,” Melissa expressed.

Both officers and another resident were treated and released at the hospital for smoke inhalation.

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Body camera footage shows Sandy police officers quick response to apartment fire