Kansas City Fire Department

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

A Jackson County grand jury has returned additional charges against Thu Hong Nguyen, the woman accused of setting the fire that killed two Kansas City firefighters last year.

John Mesh and Larry Leggio died battling the Oct. 12 blaze that injured two other firefighters and reduced a 16-unit apartment building to rubble.

We hear the stories and perspectives from area residents who were affected by some of the news events of 2015: The residents of an affordable housing project that was shut down, a photographer covering the protests at MU, a grocery store manager whose business was caught in a blaze and a doctor from Syria who can never go home again.

Guests:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The deadly Independence Avenue blaze that killed two Kansas City firefighters earlier this month was intentionally set, investigators announced Tuesday.

“Late last night, ATF agents and members of the Kansas City Bomb and Arson Unit arrested a suspect who remains in custody at this hour,” said Gregory Gant, Special Agent in Charge for the Kansas City Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Thu Hong Nguyen, 43, told investigators she received insurance payouts from other recent fires.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Fire trucks lined Grand Blvd. Saturday afternoon and an American flag hovered above a crowd gathered outside the Sprint Center. They were there to honor two fallen Kansas City firefighters.

Larry Leggio and John Mesh were given full public honors during a memorial that drew thousands to downtown Kansas City.

 

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Federal fire investigators continue to sift through the burned out building in the Historic Northeast that collapsed Monday night, killing two firefighters.

Fire investigators were finally able to enter the building Friday, says Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman John Ham.

“They literally have to think about every footstep because they’re basically on the roof of a three-story building that is down below them,” Ham says.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

In official parlance, the death of a firefighter is called a Line of Duty Death, or LODD. And the protocols and procedures for handling one run to several pages. The formal, sometimes antiquated, language of the protocol lends it the gravity with which fire officials approach this somber task. 

"Our methods may change, but our goals remain the same as they were in the past, to save lives and to protect property, sometimes at a terrible cost. This is what we do, this is our chosen profession, this is the tradition of the fire fighter," one section of the protocol reads. 

This past Monday, Kansas City bore witness to the best and the worst that can happen to this town. The same night that saw the Royals win their battle in Houston over the Astros … saw two Kansas City, Missouri, firefighters lose their lives as they battled a two-alarm fire on Independence Avenue. Steve Kraske talks with IAFF Local 42 President William Galvin about the traditions and protocol of honoring those who lose their lives in the line of duty.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

As the brisk morning morphed into a warm autumn afternoon, residents and business owners began to gather on the perimeters of the site along Kansas City's Independence Avenue where two veteran firefighters died saving civilians in an apartment building fire Monday night.

Seventeen-year Kansas City firefighter Larry Leggio and John Mesh, 13 years with the force, died outside the structure when part of the burning building crashed down on them .  According to reports, they had just brought two residents from upper story apartments to safety.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Updated, Tuesday 7:14 a.m.:

Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi identified the two Kansas City firefighters killed in a blaze Monday night as Larry J. Leggio and John V. Mesh. 

Leggio was a 17-year veteran who worked on Truck 2, Station 17, as a fire apparatus operator. Mesh was a 13-year veteran firefighter assigned to Pumper 10.

An emotional Berardi said Leggio leaves behind his wife and mother. Mesh had a wife and four young daughters.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Hundreds of firefighters and spectators took part in the fifth annual Kansas City 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb on Sunday, despite a bomb threat made last week.

Bagpipes and drums echoed throughout the halls of downtown's Town Pavilion as 343 firefighters from eight states suited up and climbed the 38 -story building three times in a row in memory of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Each firefighter had the picture of one of the 343 New York City firefighters who died at the World Trade Center taped to their backs.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The physical handling of millions of dollars in old cash had resumed at mid-afternoon Thursday at Kansas City’s Federal Reserve Bank.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The Missouri River swallowed up two people seen jumping from the Kit Bond Bridge at midday.

Traffic was stopped on the span that carries some 100,000 vehicles a day.

Police talked with at least one witness.

Visibility was obscured by snow squalls that whipped the river at the time.

KCUR’s Dan Verbeck gave a description from the site where the river search was launched and ended--“this is Riverfront Park, downstream from the Bond Bridge."   

Top Of The Morning News: March 14, 2013

Mar 14, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The Kansas City Fire Department released a report on the explosion that happened at JJ's restaurant in February, and Missouri launched a new campaign to discourage meth "smurfing." These stories & more from KCUR.

Explosion Probe Incomplete

Berardi Becomes Kansas City Fire Chief

Jan 10, 2013
kccg

Twenty-six years after signing on as a Kansas City firefighter, Paul Berardi has become the chief of the department.

All-Star Ill-Weather Hovers Over Kansas City

Jul 5, 2012
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Mayor Sly James went to the Kansas City Emergency Operations Center for a briefing on readiness for the All-Star Game and most immediate interest shifted to the heat wave.

Kansas City Council OKs Firefighter Contract

May 11, 2012
KCCG

The Kansas City Council has affirmed a three-year contract with Local 42 of the Firefighters Union. Accord came after weeks of negotiations.

A daily digest of headlines from KCUR: KC Departments Cuts Still Being Debated & Daytime Curfew On Hold.

New Report Cuts Risk Of NBAF, School Board President Preps Others For Leadership & more: A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

Firefighter, Truck, Station Cuts Described

Mar 1, 2012
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The guesswork is over. Kansas City’s fire chief has laid out which fire stations would have smaller staffs, fewer fire trucks and which will close as he faces orders to reduce the department budget by $7.6 million for 2013.

Exit May Ease For KC Chief

Feb 29, 2012

A financial deal is being worked out at city hall to allow Kansas City’s fire chief to retire early and with benefits.

Library of Congress

Kansas City, Missouri City Manager Troy Schulte’s recently proposed budget recommendations for 2012 include a number of cuts, most notably a reduction of more than 100 positions in the fire department. On Wednesday, Fire Chief Smokey Dyer told the City Council’s public safety committee that the proposed cuts would violate national fire safety standards.

In a graphic verbal portrayal of a fire  scene in the future, a Kansas City  Council committee has heard one view of how proposed budget cuts could affect the Kansas City Fire Department.

Kansas City Fire Dept.

In the early evening of December 29th, Louie “Scooter” Martin was working the final hours of his last shift before retiring. For most people, that would mean eating a big, sugary cake and hearing some words of tribute from the boss. But Martin spent his final working hours racing through midtown traffic toward one of the biggest fires in Westport history (at Westport Presbyterian Church). It was a fitting end to the career of one of the long-serving firefighters in Kansas City history. This week, Alex Smith visited Louie “Scooter” Martin at his home in Liberty.