Judge finds woman guilty of murder, arson in fire that killed two KCMO firefighters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Jackson County judge found the woman accused of setting a 2015 fire that killed two Kansas City, Mo., firefighters, guilty of six of the seven counts she is facing, including arson and murder.

Prosecutors say Thu Hong Nguyen intentionally poured acetone and isopropyl alcohol in the stock room of her KCMO nail salon, lit it on fire and then left the building to burn.

On Monday, the judge found her guilty of two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree arson and two counts of first-degree assault.

Responding firefighters Larry Leggio and John Mesh were killed when a portion of the building collapsed. Two other firefighters were seriously injured in the fire.

Two firefighters killed Oct 12, 2015 fighting a fire: Larry Leggio and John Mesh.

Fire scene Monday night in Kansas City's Old Northeast Neighborhood

Fire scene in Kansas City's Old Northeast Neighborhood Oct. 12, 3015

Jackson County Prosecutor Baker met with both the Leggio and Mesh families following the verdict.

"Our community acknowledges, again, the incredible service of our firefighters, who every day take great risk to keep us safe. Unfortunately, the loss of these two firefighters and the injuries suffered by two other firefighters that night reminds of us of how dangerous their job is. We cannot forget their massive contributions to our community," Baker said.

After the verdict, the county prosecutor also acknowledged the great work of the county prosecution team and the support of the federal ATF, whose staff were invaluable investigators of the arson and subsequent deaths of the two firefighters.

"ATF is extremely grateful to the Jackson County Prosecutors Office and their diligence in seeking justice in this tragic case," said George Lauder, ATF Special Agent in Charge in Kansas City. "Our thoughts are with the Mesh and Leggio families."

Nguyen will be sentenced Sept. 14 at 8:30 a.m.

Image of outside the courtroom after the verdict.

Image of outside the courtroom after the verdict.

This wasn't the first fire

Nguyen also faced an additional arson charge in Jackson County for allegedly setting another nail salon in Lee's Summit on fire in 2013. She was found guilty of this charge on Monday.

Court documents say Nguyen worked at Nails USA, which her son owned, in the Cedar Creek Mall shopping area at the time. She told police she closed the business early on July 25, 2013, and a short time later, a witness reported a fire in the salon to emergency dispatch.

Investigators said a desk inside the salon -- the station where Nguyen worked at -- caught fire, but it was quickly extinguished, which limited the damage.

In an initial investigation, the Lee's Summit Fire Department classified the fire as accidental due to inappropriate electrical wiring.

But after Nguyen was charged in the 2015 KCMO fire, officials went back to the 2013 investigation and now say it was no accident.

Court documents say two other employees left the building shortly before Nguyen did that evening, leaving Nguyen inside the business alone.

Investigators did several tests to try to reconstruct the 2013 fire, and those tests eliminated all accidental causes of the fire, including a faulty power strip.

As a result, investigators determined the fire had to be intentionally set and believe that Nguyen knowingly damaged the salon and put other people in danger.

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