Alleged Arsonist's Arrest a 'Slap' in Community's Face
Over $1,700 in donations had been collected for the Nazareth woman who is accused of starting a fire that destroyed the townhouse she shared with her husband and son, leaving the donation drive's organizer feeling betrayed.
After a fire ripped through and destroyed a N. Green Street townhouse, the Nazareth community -- and some individuals and businesses from surrounding communities -- saw a local family and neighbor in need.
- Over $1,700 in gift cards, gift certificates and personal checks.
- Toys, books and clothes.
- The opportunity to shop for clothes at My Sister's Closet in Hanover Township.
- A dining room table, a Pack 'N Play, a microwave and four tickets to attend an Iron Pigs game.
- The Nazareth YMCA donated a one-year family membership.
- Nine-hour fundraiser at Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar.
State Rep. Joe Emrick even dropped off three gift cards for the family of three, which consists of Rich and Karla Dewey and their 3-year-old son, Cole.
The generosity of the community, however, has been overshadowed by the arrest of Karla Dewey, 30, who is accused of igniting the blaze that left her home a hollowed-out shell.
Will Karla Dewey's case affect future giving in the Nazareth community? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
She also faces charges that stem from a 2009 arson case at St. John's United Church of Christ, and is a person of interest in six other unsolved arsons / criminal mischief – suspicious fires in Nazareth, according to Police Chief Thomas Trachta.
Ben Miller, an Upper Nazareth Township resident who helped spearhead the donation drive, said the news of Dewey's arraignment Monday afternoon was disappointing and "like a slap in the face to me and the entire Nazareth community."
“I led the fundraising efforts, just like the year before with the Weisenberger family," Miller wrote in an e-mail to Patch. "I put my name and reputation on the line for Karla and her family, asking others to donate and donating myself, both financially and with physical goods, like toys, clothes and a microwave."
Dewey's husband, a volunteer firefighter with the Upper Nazareth Fire Department, also appears to be reeling from his wife's alleged actions.
On his public Facebook page, Rich Dewey wrote, "At 11:46 am today, my life has taken a turn for the worst..Not really sure how to recover from this..But I know I have some great friends and a wonderful family.."
Although the feeling of "betrayal" is weighing heavily on Miller -- who was behind the creation of a Facebook page called "Support Nazareth Fire Victims" -- he will continue "helping any other Nazareth family who faces such a profound loss and needs help."
Miller did, however, point out that 3-year-old Cole, who was home at the time of the fire, "lost all his toys because of someone else’s thoughtless and dangerous actions.”