KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A woman awaiting trial in an arson fire that killed two Kansas City firefighters has been charged with setting another blaze, and her boyfriend has been charged with insurance fraud.
The latest arson charge against 45-year-old Thu Hong Nguyen stems from a 2013 Lee’s Summit fire and was added in an indictment returned last Friday.
Nguyen was charged previously with two counts each second-degree murder and four other felonies in the October 2015 fire that killed Larry Leggio, 43, and John Mesh, 39, and seriously injured two other firefighters. A brick wall fell on them as they tried to quell flames in an area had been deemed unsafe. Fire officials subsequently changed safety procedures.
In a separate indictment unsealed Tuesday, Nguyen’s boyfriend and business partner, 51-year-old Nhat Pham, was charged with insurance fraud in the Kansas City fire, The Kansas City Star reports.
The criminal complaint against Pham, who is out on $10,000 bond, does not address whether he had any role in setting the fatal fire, only that he lied about his whereabouts. Pham was at a casino and not present to help Nguyen and an employee close up the Kansas City salon as he initially told authorities, court records say.
The fire led authorities to re-examine the Lee’s Summit fire, whose cause initially was ruled undetermined. It was reclassified as “intentional” after testing ruled out “all accidental causes,” a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent wrote in the probable cause statement for the newest arson charge.
Both the 2013 and 2015 fires were at nail salons Nguyen managed. She was last person seen leaving the Lee’s Summit salon on the day of that fire. Her attorney, Molly Hasting, says her client will plead not guilty and maintains she is innocent. No attorney is listed for Pham in online court records.
Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com