Nazareth Fire Victim Angered by Alleged Arson

Chuck Arthur says he lost most of what he owned in a fire on N. Green Street in Nazareth last March that police say was set by his next-door neighbor.

Chuck Arthur has to get up by about 3 a.m. for work, so it's normal for him to take a nap after he gets home in the early afternoon. 

If he had been napping on the afternoon of March 13, he's not sure he'd be alive today. 

That's because on that date, Arthur was living in a rented row home at 38 N. Green St. in Nazareth, next door to Karla and Rich Dewey and their son, Cole. On March 13, in the Dewey's home at the end of the row, destroying it. Arthur said smoke and water ruined his furniture, television, computer, clothes and other belongings.  

On Monday, Sept. 10 with arson for allegedly setting that fire and another in 2009 at St. John's United Church of Christ in Nazareth. 

"I pretty much lost everything," Arthur said in a phone interview Thursday. His children, Carly, 13, Roger, 10, and Dean, 9, who live with him on weekends, lost toys, games and clothes to smoke and water damage, he said.

Arthur said he had no renter's insurance at the time. When the fire displaced him, he went to live with his girlfriend in Kunkletown. 

When he found out this week that Karla Dewey had been charged with arson, Arthur was angry at the thought he might have been home asleep at the time of the 2 p.m. blaze if work hadn't kept him out later that day. He feels even angrier when he thinks about what could have happened if his kids had been there. 

He was incensed that the Deweys were the beneficiaries of an outpouring of generosity from the community that included about $1,700 in gift cards and personal checks, as well as toys, furniture, clothes and other donations. 

He said he was at the Holy Family Club in Nazareth one night after the fire when a 50-50 raffle was being held to benefit the Deweys. "It bothered me, all this fundraising that was done for her," he said.

Ben Miller, an Upper Nazareth Township resident who helped organize the donation drive for the Deweys, reacted Tuesday to the news of Karla Dewey's arrest, saying it felt to me and the entire Nazareth community."

Miller responded to comments Chuck Arthur made on Patch about Arthur's resentment at all the donations to the Deweys while he was a victim of the fire and received no aid. Miller said in his response that he hadn't realized Arthur was in need and that he also would have helped him if he had known. 

Miller said he had been trying to help people in need and had been under the impression from police and fire officials that only the Deweys lost everything. 

Rich Dewey, a volunteer firefighter with the Upper Nazareth Fire Department, said earlier this week that he was "blindsided" by his wife's arrest.   

Ben Miller September 14, 2012 at 02:15 PM
I feel for Mr. Arthur and if he had reached out to me at the time of the fire, I would have helped him. That said, there are a few very important details missing from this article- First, I spoke with officials from both the fire department and the police before donations were given to the Dewey Family. Firefighters said his home suffered mild smoke and fire damage and police told me that the rumors about Karla Dewey were unfounded and there was no reason to believe that she was involved. They said they weren't even sure it was an arson. Mr. Arthur chose to go after me personally in comments on other Patch articles, chastising me for helping the wrong people. He claimed repeatedly that he was the only victim and that he and his "3 small children" were left homeless without anything. In reality, Rich Dewey and little Cole Dewey (3 years old) DID lose everything, while Mr. Arthur actually lived alone and he declined help from the Red Cross on the day of the fire. Mr. Arthur was not left stranded with three small children as he has repeatedly claimed, his kids are 13, 10 and 9 years old and don't live with him. He specifically told the Express Times that on the day of the fire. Here's the article- http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/nazareth/index.ssf/2012/03/nazareth_house_severely_damage.html Like I said, I feel for Mr. Arthur and would have helped him if he talked to me, but he never did. Instead, he chose to attack me 6 months later in comments on Patch.
Avis May 11, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Arson is a horrible crime. I hope they keep Karla Dewey in jail for a long time -- too many people have suffered because of her. So sorry about you loss, Mr. Arthur.


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