Wife of man who set himself on fire had restraining order


A woman whose estranged husband set himself ablaze in her Costa Mesa nail salon filed a restraining order against him last year after he threatened her with a hammer, court records allege.

Nam Thieu, 46, of Westminster, doused himself in a flammable liquid and lit himself on fire Sunday at Creative Nail & Spa at 3033 Bristol St., the Costa Mesa Police Department said. He was the only one reported injured at the scene.

Thieu suffered burns on more than 70% of his body and was not expected to survive. As of Tuesday morning, Thieu remained alive, according to the Orange County Coroner’s office.


The couple, who have three children, had a difficult history. His wife described a November dispute in a restraining order application filed at the Lamoreaux Justice Center in Orange in which Thieu allegedly demanded that she put their car’s title in his name, waved a hammer in her direction and used a derogatory word to describe her and her mother.

The day prior, Thieu allegedly threw a water bottle at his wife and slammed a screwdriver on a table, she said through a Vietnamese translator, according to court documents.

His wife, whom the Daily Pilot is not naming because she could be a victim of domestic violence, asked the court that her husband attend a year-long treatment program for batterers and enter a drug-rehabilitation program.

On Jan. 18, a judge ordered Thieu to a 22-week anger management program, according to court records.

On Feb. 29, Thieu was served with divorce papers, according to court records.

On Monday afternoon, the salon was open and employees attended to customers; there were no visible signs of Sunday’s incident.

— Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Joseph Serna contributed to this report.

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