- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A woman was indicted Friday on additional charges in a fire that killed two Kansas City firefighters and injured two others.

The new indictment against Thu Hong Nguyen, 43, of Kansas City, adds the rarely filed charge of causing a catastrophe and two counts of second-degree assault. State statute describes causing a catastrophe as an “explosion, fire, flood, collapse of a building, release of poison, radioactive material, bacteria, virus or other dangerous and difficult to confine force or substance.”

She was charged previously with second-degree murder and first-degree arson. While battling an Oct. 12 blaze, Larry Leggio, 43, and John Mesh, 39, were killed and two other firefighters were hurt when a wall collapsed.

Nguyen is being held on $2 million bond. Her attorney, Bill Shull, said he was “surprised about some of the new allegations” but that he couldn’t comment further because he hadn’t had a chance to review the new indictment.

The building that burned contained several small businesses, including LN Salon and Spa, on the first floor and 16 apartments on the second floor. An investigator with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said in an affidavit that Nguyen owned the nail salon, while her attorney said she worked there.

The affidavit said one of the surviving firefighters suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, damage to nerves along the left side of his ribcage and an infection that causes him to vomit several times daily. The other firefighter suffered a dislocated ankle and torn tendon, lower leg fractures and a concussion.

The investigator said in the affidavit that he determined the fire was intentionally set in a storage room on the nail salon, where Nguyen was the last person to leave. Video surveillance tapes from a nearby business show a woman leaving the salon minutes before the first smoke is seen coming from the structure.

Nguyen also told investigators that on the day of the fire, she bought four bottles of acetone and four bottles of isopropyl alcohol, which are flammable, at a nail supply store.

Court documents say Nguyen told investigators she previously received insurance payments from two other fires. A 2013 fire at a Lee’s Summit salon, where she worked, was isolated to her work station. Investigators ruled that fire was accidental. In January, a fire was reported in a vacant apartment above the LN Salon and Spa, which damaged the business. Investigators determined that fire was set intentionally.

The charges of causing a catastrophe, arson and murder each carry sentences of 10 years to life imprisonment.

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