A Merced couple was arrested Thursday for allegedly torching their downtown business inside a 91-year-old building on Main Street, according to investigators.
No one was injured in the Dec. 18, 2016, blaze in the 600 block of West Main Street inside UC Oriental Market, which investigators said was set by 50-year-old Zang Her and 45-year-old Mai Moua. The couple owned the business but not the building, according to Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II.
“Firefighters have described the fire as one of the most significant in recent Merced history,” he said. “The nature of the blaze provided heightened dangers to the firefighters involved in containing it.”
The 7,500-square-foot building and its contents were “deemed a total loss” of “conservatively” $1.8 million, including insurance payouts and the staffing time of investigators, according to Chief Michael Wilkinson of Merced City Fire Department.