Woman sentenced to life in prison for fatal Chelsea apartment fire

A woman was sentenced to life in prison Monday for setting a deadly fire at a Chelsea apartment in 2010, according to the Suffolk District Attorney’s office.

Melissa Pfeiffer, 32, was convicted of second-degree murder under the theory of felony murder and two counts of causing injury to a firefighter as a result of criminal conduct, authorities said. She was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

The December 24, 2010, fire killed 20-year-old Crystal Blanchard.

According to authorities, Pfeiffer intentionally set her boyfriend’s clothing on fire after an argument, and left the scene without notifying others inside her Spruce Street apartment building or contacting the Chelsea Fire Department. The fire trapped Blanchard and her boyfriend on the second floor, where she died. Her boyfriend suffered third-degree burns, a fractured vertebrae, and a broken ankle after jumping out of a second-floor window to safety.

Two firefighters also suffered smoke inhalation during their attempts to suppress the fire.

Pfeiffer was arrested on January 6, 2011 after an investigation by Suffolk County detectives.

Before the sentencing, Blanchard’s parents spoke about their daughter, and her stepfather described her to the court as “a bright and caring person” and a talented artist with a promising future ahead of her.

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