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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A site of tragedy will soon give way to new hope. 

Crews will break ground today, Oct. 19, on a new building where two Kansas City firefighters died in the line of duty. 

A memorial marks the place where firefighters John Mesh and Larry Leggio died back in October of 2015. The two firefighters were killed by a falling wall after they helped rescue two people from a burning building at Independence and Prospect.

Picture of fire and Prospect sign
Picture of firefighters battling the blaze at Independence and Prospect in Oct. 2019

After five years of this spot remaining unused, developers are about to break ground on a new building that they say will continue to honor these two men. 

Thu Hong Nguyen, the owner of a nail salon inside the building, intentionally set the fire. She is currently serving 74 years in prison for arson and second degree murder. 

Prosecutors said she did it to collect the insurance money. 

The community dedicated a memorial to these firefighters which sits in this spot, and this new project will enhance this memorial. They will plant two trees – one in honor of each firefighter – and build a bench so people can sit and see the memorial already there. 

The total cost of the new building will be $3 million dollars, and it will have two levels. The bottom level will house seven retail stores, while the second floor will have 15 apartments. 

Developers hope to get it all built within the next year and open it in September of 2021. 

They just held a memorial service last Monday, the five year anniversary of their deaths, and now, one week later, they are beginning a new chapter at this location. 

And they promise to keep these firefighters memory alive with this new project.